From Nature Middle East, 6 April 2023:
Horses have long held a special place in the culture, spirituality and day-to-day lives of North America’s Indigenous people, such as the Lakota and Comanche of the American southwest and Great Plains.
Until recently, horses were thought to have been introduced to North America by European colonisers. Now, an international study, including three researchers in Saudi Arabia – and in partnership with Indigenous representatives and historians – has used archaeological, genetic, radioisotopic and other scientific data to show that horses were already part of Indigenous life before Europeans arrived in the 17th century.
Researchers examined 33 horse specimens and found three that pre-dated the Pueblo Revolt – the 1680 uprising of Indigenous tribes against Spanish invaders in New Mexico.
“Some of those horses were integrated into Indigenous ceremonies, like one was buried alongside three coyotes,” says University of Colorado Boulder anthropologist and study lead author, William Taylor. Another horse had received veterinary care to mend a facial fracture. There were also indications that the horses had been ridden, such as tiny fractures in the spines from the impact of a rider, and wear on the back teeth from a bit.
Combining all their evidence, the authors suggest that horses were first adopted into Indigenous culture and life between 1516 and 1599, well before the arrival of Europeans. Read more.