Gohar Tappeh archeological site
The remains were found during the 8th phase of excavations in
a cemetery dating back to the late Bronze and early Iron Age eras, around 3400
BCE, CAIS reported.
"The form, figure and size of the discovered pieces show that they might be the oldest evidence for Caspian horse ancestry", said head of the archeology team Ali Mahforouzi.
"We should continue our excavations to reach the virgin soil and determine the date of the oldest human occupation of the site," he added, saying that studying Gohar Tappeh can help experts understand the ancient site's cultural background and its relations with other pre-historic civilizations.
Located in Iran's northern Mazandaran Province, the Gohar Tappeh site spans an area of 50 hectares and is considered one of the most important archaeological sites near the Caspian Sea.
Previous excavations at the site had yielded many interesting finds such as a cobble-stoned lane, skeletal remains of a warrior, the skeleton of a child and a bronze pendant with a bullhorn motif, and a number of bull statuettes.
Archaeologists also discovered an unidentified artifact in a grave beside a skeleton, which some prominent musicians of Mazandaran believe looks like a clarinet.
The Caspian horse, also known as the Mazandaran horse is native to northern Iran and was celebrated in ancient Persia as a battle horse or chariot horse used for racing.
It was also presented to kings and queens as a valuable gift and is known to be favored by Achaemenid king Darius the Great.
The Caspian horse was thought to have gone extinct until 1965 when the American wife of an Iranian aristocrat called Louise Firouz went on an expedition on horseback and discovered the small horses in the Iranian mountainous regions south of the Caspian Sea.
The number of surviving Caspian horses in Iran is still quite small, but the overall number of registered Persian Caspians worldwide is estimated at 1,300 mainly in the US, UK, Germany and Australia.
Caspian horses are smaller than modern horses at around 11.3 hands compared with a modern racehorse at 16. They have light frames, thin bones, short, fine head with a pronounced forehead, large eyes, short ears and small muzzles.
They are also very fast, strong and spirited, and have good temperaments. Louise Firouz described them as "kind, intelligent and willing."
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