Horse-drawn wagons 5000 years ago, beneath a huge dramatic sky

… it is now possible to solve the central puzzle surrounding (the language) Proto-Indo-European, namely, who spoke it, where it was spoken, and when…

I believe with many others that the Proto-Indo-European homeland was located in the steppes north of the Black and Caspian Seas in what is today southern Ukraine and Russia… The steppes resembled the prairies of North America – a monotonous sea of grass framed under a huge, dramatic sky. A continuous belt of steppes extends from eastern Europe (between Odessa and Bucharest) to the Great Wall of China, an arid corridor running seven thousand kilometers across the center of the Eurasian continent. This enormous grassland was an effective barrier to the transmission of ideas and technologies for thousands of years… Eventually people who rode horses and herded cattle and sheep acquired the wheel, and were then able to follow their herds almost anywhere, using heavy wagons to carry their tents and supplies… after the horse was domesticated and the covered wagon invented… life became predictable and productive for the people of the Eurasian steppes. The opening of the steppe – its transformation from a hostile ecological barrier to a corridor of transcontinental communication – forever changed the dynamics of Eurasian historical development…

– From ‘The Horse, The Wheel, and Language; how Bronze-Age riders from the Eurasian steppes shaped the modern world’ by David W. Anthony, p 5-6.

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