Invention of the Wheel


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In the "Fragile Young Genius" topic Ellen Stuttle cited one common history of the invention of the wheel. It conflicted with my understanding. I just went through several books on the Indo-European and Proto-Indo-European languages and culture. PIE and IE scholars generally accept that these peoples with their access to horses invented the wheeled cart. From that came other applications of the wheel.

The congruencies with "Mesopotamia" are hard to miss, but note that the PIE cultures trace to about the same time as the Proto-Sumerian, about 8000 BCE, as the glaciers retreated. Their languages are different - with many intriguing root cognates, it seems - but the cultures share Sky Gods, Trinities, and patriarchy, which set them apart. Just to say... And, note, that the wheeled cart does take hold "near simultaneously" in both cultures.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wheel

Evidence of wheeled vehicles appears from the mid-4th millennium BC, near-simultaneously in Mesopotamia, the Northern Caucasus (Maykop culture) and Central Europe, so that the question of which culture originally invented the wheeled vehicle remains unresolved and under debate. The world's oldest wooden wheel, dating from 5,250 ± 100 BP, was discovered by Slovenian archeologists in 2002.[3]
The earliest well-dated depiction of a wheeled vehicle (here a wagon—four wheels, two axles), is on the Bronocice pot, a ca. 3500–3350 BC clay pot excavated in a Funnelbeaker culture settlement in southern Poland.[4]

[3] Alexander Gasser (March 2003). "World's Oldest Wheel Found in Slovenia". Government Communication Office of the Republic of Slovenia. Retrieved 19 August 2010.
[4] Anthony, David A. (2007). The horse, the wheel, and language: how Bronze-Age riders from the Eurasian steppes shaped the modern world. Princeton, N.J: Princeton University Press. p. 67. ISBN 0-691-05887-3.

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In the "Fragile Young Genius" topic Ellen Stuttle cited one common history of the invention of the wheel.
.

See for the version crediting the Sumerians.

The world's oldest wooden wheel, dating from 5,250 ± 100 BP, was discovered by Slovenian archeologists in 2002.[3] [....]

[3] Alexander Gasser (March 2003). "World's Oldest Wheel Found in Slovenia". Government Communication Office of the Republic of Slovenia. Retrieved 19 August 2010. [....]

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I hadn't heard of that find. Exciting!

Ellen

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[....] I just went through several books on the Indo-European and Proto-Indo-European languages and culture. PIE and IE scholars generally accept that these peoples with their access to horses invented the wheeled cart. From that came other applications of the wheel.
.

Speaking of the horse brings to mind a semi-pet-peeve: all the gnashing of teeth over the destruction of AmerIndian cultures by Western contact. Not to deny that there were some terrible results for the former because of the latter. However, what do people generally think of when thinking of the quintessential AmerIndians? I bet that most people think of the mounted Plains Indians in full regalia.

Where did those Plains Indians get the horse? The horse was just the thing to perfectify the buffalo-hunting culture. The horse was brought to the Americas by the Western invaders. Thus what I think people tend to think of as the quintessential AmerIndians only became mounted warriors AFTER Western contact. I.e., a mere couple hundred years before the big push of the European settlers "winning the West."

Ellen

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Where did those Plains Indians get the horse? The horse was just the thing to perfectify the buffalo-hunting culture. The horse was brought to the Americas by the Western invaders. Thus what I think people tend to think of as the quintessential AmerIndians only became mounted warriors AFTER Western contact. I.e., a mere couple hundred years before the big push of the European settlers "winning the West."

Ellen

From the Spaniards when they were in Mexico screwing over the Aztecs.

The horse had become extinct in North America and the Spaniards brought the horse back to North America.

Ba'al Chatzaf

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They did not adopt the wheel, then, either. However, I have pointed out on RoR to catcalls and hisses that just as the English colonists were figuring out the consequences of being on their own, in the Great Plaines, the Cheyenne were developing a remarkable constitutional system. People voted for chiefs who voted for chiefs. The highest council had rotating membership. The migrating tribes were kept on path by teams of mounted warriors, the Dog, Fox, and Crazy Dog Soldiers, (and one more). These social structures were consequences of acquiring horses which greatly changed the range and speed of travel.

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They did not adopt the wheel, then, either.
.

They still used the travois -- See for illustrations.

The AmerIndians became incredible horsemen, generally riding bareback or just with a blanket to cut down on rubbing. They learned acrobatic feats such as hanging from the horse's neck with one leg and shooting with bow and arrow under the neck while the horse was running alongside a buffalo.

A few years ago I heard an interesting tale from an anthropologist who had done some field work with the Jicarilla Apaches. I don't know if this was a Margaret Mead sort of thing, with the informant telling the anthropologist what she wanted to hear. She was told, she said, by a tribal elder that "the horse we got back is bigger than the one we used to have" -- possibly indicating a verbal legend of the steppes ponies known to the tribes' ancestors before they crossed the land bridge.

I can imagine the catcalls and hisses you got trying to talk on RoR about the government system developed by the Cheyenne.

Ellen

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