Re: Jorbat petroglyphs (query from Chris Thornton)
- --- In Indo-Eurasian_research@yahoogroups.com, "rhmeadow" <meadow@...> wrote:
> Hope you all know about the excavation report for Pirak, a site inIn their preliminary article on the excavation of Pirak (Jarrige Jean-François, Enault Jean-François. Fouilles de Pirak - Baluchistan. In: Arts asiatiques. Tome 32, 1976. pp. 29-70), available online at
> the Kachi Plain of Pakistani Balochistan near to Sibi.
> There are figurines [from there] of horses and of camels as well
> as of riders dating from the early second millennium to the mid-
> first millennium BC. There are horse and camel bones recovered
> from the excavations as well.
> Title: Fouilles de Pirak.
> Published: Paris : Diffusion De Boccard, 1979.
> Description: 2 v. : ill. ; 28 cm.
> Series: Publications de la Commission des fouilles
> archéologiques. Fouilles du Pakistan ; no 2
> Contents: v. 1. Texte / par Jean-François Jarrige, Marielle
> Santoni, avec des contributions de Monique Lechevallier ... [et
> al.] -- v. 2. Étude architecturale et figures / par Jean-François
> Enault, avec la collaboration de Jacques Decroix et Gonzague
> Quivron ; planches de Catherine Jarrige.
> Notes: Summary in English.
> Includes index.
> Bibliography: v. 1, p. -344.
Jarrige & Enault connect the figurines of riders with those of horses, but *not* with those of the two-hump camels. See at p. 39, where they argue that some of the rider figurines perfectly fit the horse ones (on which they were probably mounted as a separate piece so as to give the representation of a horseback rider out of two assembled pieces), but don't argue the same with reference to the camel figurines. Two of the camel figurines from Pirak are shown in Pl. XIII, Fig. 7 and Pl. XX, Fig. 3 in this article.
Therefore, since the issue currently under discussion is the (lack of) evidence for the riding of Bactrian camels in the second millennium BCE, let me benignly note that, UNLESS SOMETHING DIFFERENT BE STATED IN THIS CONNECTION IN THE TWO VOLUMES OF THE "FOUILLES DE PIRAK" (which I can't access now), the excavators of Pirak did not suggest that Bactrian camels were being ridden at that site in the early centuries of the second millennium BCE.
You should keep in mind that the Bactrian is a transport (pack) animal,
suitable for the dry cold of Central Asian winters. They can carry a lot
of "stuff' efficiently, though not quickly, over a long distance. As
with any transport animal, you can also ride them just like any other
baggage. Just think of cattle, including water buffalo. No one thinks of
water buffalo as "riding" animals, but they are ridden lots of times in
many places. The same with yaks. Horses differ in that they provide
speed, not carrying efficiency.
As for sources, neither Kuzmina nor Anthony are interested in camels,
nor are they zooarchaeologists. If you are interested I can give you the
contact information for additional specialists.
[mailto:Indo-Eurasian_research@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of Francesco
Sent: Tuesday, August 31, 2010 6:41 PM
Subject: [Indo-Eurasia] Re: Jorbat petroglyphs (query from Chris
--- In Indo-Eurasian_research@yahoogroups.com
<mailto:Indo-Eurasian_research%40yahoogroups.com> , "Drews, Robert"
> Thanks much for the references, Trudy, I'll have a look at the KohlBefore posting my most recent message in this thread, I had already read
the pages of Kohl's book dealing with the Bactrian camel. Yet, there is
no mention of second-millennium camel-riding in it.
So far, the only author I could trace who refers ro the riding of
Bactrian camels in second-millennium BCE Central Asia is the Indian
archaeologist Shereen Ratnagar, who, in a paper of hers accessed at
claims (yet without citing any evidence) that the people of the
Andronovo cultures "rode the horse and the Bactrian camel."
Yet, I have searched the most up-to-date books of Kohl (see above),
Kuz'mina and Anthony, but there's no mention of Andronovo camel-riders
> This is the link to the cylinder seal in the Walters Art Museum,
> Baltimore, that shows two figures, apparently divine, sitting on a
> Bactrian camel. This is, of course, not a documentary photo of the
> but an artistic representation.are
> It looks like I have to walk back the adjective "many" in my post. :-^
> There are lots of 3rd mill Bactrian representations but few, if any,
> ridden. I recommend Philip Kohl's THE MAKING OF BRONZE AGE EURASIA,[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
> Cambridge World Archaeology, 2007 (paper 2009) for lots of info on
> domesticated Bactrians. Also Dan Potts, "Camel Hybridization and the
> Role of Camelus Bactrianus in the Ancient Near East," Journal of the
> Economic and Social History of the Orient 47 (2004). I have this as a
> pdf if any one wants it.
> Trudy Kawami
- At the recent International Conference or the International Council for Archaeozoology meeting in Paris (ended last Saturday) there was a session on the Old World camelids. You can download the abstracts from the following URL:
To find the camel session abstracts search on "S1-3" which will take you to the end of the abstract. You will need to back up a page if an abstract ends at the top of a new page.
Very interesting session!
Trudy Kawami wrote:
> You should keep in mind that the Bactrian is a transport (pack) animal,
> suitable for the dry cold of Central Asian winters. They can carry a lot
> of "stuff' efficiently, though not quickly, over a long distance. As
> with any transport animal, you can also ride them just like any other
> baggage. Just think of cattle, including water buffalo. No one thinks of
> water buffalo as "riding" animals, but they are ridden lots of times in
> many places. The same with yaks. Horses differ in that they provide
> speed, not carrying efficiency.
> As for sources, neither Kuzmina nor Anthony are interested in camels,
> nor are they zooarchaeologists. If you are interested I can give you the
> contact information for additional specialists.
- --- In Indo-Eurasian_research@yahoogroups.com, "Trudy Kawami" <tkawami@...> wrote:
> Francesco,My point is one about the difference in the use of the dromedary and that of the Bactrian camel for military purposes in the Iron Age. As I mentioned earlier, there's an early depiction (from Tell Halaf in Syria) of a dromedary being ridden by an armed man which dates from the 10th century BCE, although it was not until the 8th century that Assyrian art showed Arabs fighting from the top of their dromedaries. Nothing comparable is seen if we come to the Bactrian camel, until, in the first century BCE, we find a type of coins of the Indo-Scythian king Azes I showing him mounted on a two-humped camel and variously holding a goad or axe, with bow on back etc., as well as the portrayal, in some sculptural panels from Gandhara, of Indo-Scythian men riding on two-humped camels (as adversaries of the Buddha). By this time, as it is apparent, the Bactrian camel was no longer only "a pack animal which could be ridden on occasions", but a mount used for warfare by the Indo-Scythians. What about the earlier Central Asian Scythians? When had they learnt to mount the Bactrian camel during military operations? Did they do that after learning how to ride a dromedary in combat from their western Iranian neighbours (the Persians, the Parthians)? Or did they learn that from the Hsiung-nu and other "barbarians" of Eastern Central Asia who already used the Bactrian camel for warfare?
> You should keep in mind that the Bactrian is a transport (pack)
> animal, suitable for the dry cold of Central Asian winters. They
> can carry a lot of "stuff' efficiently, though not quickly, over a
> long distance. As with any transport animal, you can also ride them
> just like any other baggage. Just think of cattle, including water
> buffalo. No one thinks of water buffalo as "riding" animals, but
> they are ridden lots of times in many places. The same with yaks.
> Horses differ in that they provide speed, not carrying efficiency.
These are the reasons of my inquisitiveness. As I don't see any evidence for Bronze Age "Andronovo camel riders" (see my previous posts in this thread), I am inclined to think that the Bactrian camel was not ridden for military purposes by Iranian nomads of Central Asia (like the Turks, for instance, are known from historical sources to have done in the early centuries of our era) until very late, apparently until way after the dromedary had started to be employed for military purposes in the Ancient Near East.
Hope my point is clearer now.