Bradshaw Foundation - Latest News



Domestication of Horses in relation to Rock Art

13 Aug 2015
Share on Facebook

Jaime Lira is part of the Atapuerca Research Project in Spain, researching domestication and the interaction of humans, plants and animals. The team is looking at rock art in this respect, such as the 14,000 year-old depictions of horses inside Niaux Cave in the Ariege department of the French Pyrenees.

Horses depicted in Niaux Cave

Development of human societies through the Holocene has been in close relation with the success in plant and animal control. Among mammals, five major domesticates have contributed to this process (cattle, sheep, goats, pigs and horses). The horse has been the latest to be domesticated, and the most controversial one regarding the tempo and mode of its domestication process. 

Niaux Cave in France with rock art of horses

Recent studies reinforce the hypothesis that this process took place in the Eurasian steppes between Ukraine and Kazakhstan, about 4,600 years ago. It has been proposed that the first domestic horses spread throughout Eurasia from this area, while an alternative hypothesis has suggested a more complex process, with several domestication events in different regions and chronological periods. 

Rock art depicting horses in the French cave of Niaux

For decades, the Iberian Peninsula has been proposed as a place where a likely local domestication event has occurred. Paleolithic and Holocene cave painting, together with protohistoric art studies, have supported this hypothesis. Archaeozoological studies on horse remains have also contributed to the idea of this local domestication event. Furthermore, mtDNA analyses of modern horses have showed an extremely large maternal lineage variation. Several studies on modern Iberian horses pointed to the D1 haplogroup as the most likely group involved in an independent domestication event, occurred either in Iberia or in North Africa.

In a section of his thesis, Jaime tests this hypothesis using ancient DNA, and the results were published some years ago. The team extracted ancient mtDNA from Iberian horses from the Neolithic, Bronze Age and Middle Ages, monitoring their contribution to some modern maternal Iberian lineages. They detected the D1 haplogroup in Iberia but not in prehistoric times, and showed other maternal lineage groups that were involved in the horse domestication process. 

He continues work on Iberian Pleistocene wild horses from several sites. 


Visit the Niaux Cave section:

Further reading:

Otras lecturas:

The Vogelherd horse sculpture:




** Like Page below to receive our articles on Facebook **
24 Sep 2015
03 Sep 2015
26 Aug 2015
15 Apr 2015
27 Mar 2015
Bradshaw FoundationAboutiShopBook ReviewSite MapMailing ListDonateFacebookTwitterContact
If you have enjoyed visiting this section of the website please consider adding a link
Bradshaw Foundation © MMXI
Homepage About the Foundation Contact Us Facebook News Articles Twitter List of Research Papers Professor Stephen Oppenheimer Travel Index About the Expeditions Forthcoming Expeditions Bespoke Expeditions Enquire Practical Information History of Exploration Welcome to the iShop Film Downloads DVD's Sculpture Prints Clothing Messenger Bag eBooks INORA Downloads About iLecture Films Shipping & Handling iLectures In Conversation Video Stories Travel Films Read the reviews Join the free Mailing List Bradshaw Foundation Facebook Friends of the Foundation Archive Index World's Oldest Rock Art Africa Documentary Films South Africa RARI Giraffe Carvings Niger Namibia Western Central Africa Africa Paintings Gallery Tanzania The Tuareg People Tuareg Salt Caravans Gilf Kebir Archive Index San Rock Art Paintings San Bushman San Rock Art Film Origins Centre Johannesburg Archive Index Arizona Baja California Baja California Film Coso Range Talking Stone Film Nevada Oregon Territory Australia Archive Index Introduction Bradshaw Paintings Kimberley Region The Unambal Hugh Brown Leif Thiele Gallery Dan Clark Grahame Walsh Ian Wilson Bradshaws / Gwion Gwion Archive Index Introduction Origins of the British Stonehenge Sounds of Stonehenge The British Museum British Isles Megaliths Gower Peninsula Rock Art Mendip Hills Prehistory Northumberland Rock Art Red Lady of Paviland Stone Age Mammoth Abattoir Western Canadian Rock Art Archive Index Huashan Rock Art Yinchuan Museum Rock Art Festival Field Trip Gallery Itinerant Creeds Inner Mongolia & Ningxia Vanishing Civilization Life in Rock Art (PDF) Tibet Tibet Photographs Dazu Rock Carvings Tiger Motif Archive Index Chauvet Cave Lascaux Cave Niaux Cave Cosquer Cave Portable Art Defining Rock Art Tuc d'Audoubert Bison Dr. Jean Clottes Index UNESCO World Heritage Introduction Cave Paintings Gallery Visiting the Chauvet Cave Return to Chauvet Cave Investigating the Cave Venus & Sorcerer Werner Herzog Film Chauvet Publications India Archive Index Rock Art Central India Pachmarhi Hills India Rock Art Gallery Middle East Archive Index Middle East Inroduction Rock Art of Iran Rock Art of Saudi Arabia United Arab Emirates Rock Art Ancient Geometry Middle East Colonisation Rock Art in Finland Tanum Rock Art Museum Thor Heyerdahl Archive Index Introduction America's Oldest Art? Pedra Furada Bolivian Rock Art Campeche Island - Brazil Checta Petroglyphs - Peru Cueva de las Manos Santa Catarina Island - Brazil Rock Art in Britain Campeche Rock Art Petroglyphs El Salvador - Corinto Cave Hand Rock Art Paintings Tibetan Rock Art United Arab Emirates Uzbekistan Yinchuan Rock Art Museum Introduction Ice Age Art Gallery Claire Artemyz Jill Cook Interview Cycladic Introduction Cycladic Gallery Introduction Geometric Signs Chart Research Methodology Geometric Signs in France Sign Types/Countries/Regions Bibliography Ancient Symbols in Rock Art Newsletter Archive Download Issues Introduction Genetic Map Professor Stephen Oppenheimer Further Reading Origins of the British BBC Documentary Origins Index Origins Overview 13 Big Questions Stanley Ambrose Homo Floresiensis Herto Skulls Homo Dmanisi Liujiang Skull Introduction Sentinels in Stone Easter Island Rock Art Birdman Cult / Motif Sea & Marine Creatures Design & Motifs Dr Georgia Lee Easter Island Map Contemporary Art Glossary Conclusion Thor Heyerdahl Introduction When & Who Built It? How Was It Built? The Area Sounds of Stonehenge Meaning of a Pyramid Pyramid Studies Pyramid Superstructure Pyramid Substructure Pyramid Preparations Pyramid Building Saqqara Nabil Swelim Temples of Malta and Gozo Research in the Caucasus The Keselo Foundation Homo Dmanisi Ancient Toolmakers Index Introduction Descent into the Cave The Decorated Caves Shamanistic Experience Spring Initiation Rites Summary Page 1 Page 2 Page 3 Page 4 Professor John P. Miller Motif: Eternal Index Han Meilin Bruce Radke Christian Tuki Gordon Ellis-Brown Site Map Search the Website Glossary of Terms & Definition Podcast on iTunes Other Websites Contact the Foundation