Rethinking the social structure of ancient Eurasian nomads
|Eurasian nomadic campsite [Credit: Hamed Saber/Wikimedia Commons]|
Around 3500 BC, regionally distinct herding economies were found across the Eurasian steppes. In some regions, these societies were the first to domesticate and ride horses. Over the next 2000 years, key innovations introduced by steppe nomads such as chariots, domesticated horses, and advanced bronze metallurgy spread across the mountains and deserts of Inner Asia and influenced the political and economic character of ancient civilizations from China to Mesopotamia, Iran, and the Indus Valley.
Although the mobile societies that fueled these networks came to share certain ideological and economic institutions, in many cases their political organization remained autonomous and idiosyncratic. Still, these regional economic and social ties forged between neighboring mobile communities helped new ideologies and institutions propagate over vast territories, millennia before the fabled "Silk Road."
Source: University of Chicago Press Journals via EurekAlert! [February 24, 2012]