February 26, 2012

Oldest toy car is from Kurdistan c. 5500 BCE

The oldest toy car (right) is as old as 5500 BCE and was found near the North Kurdish town of Qoser (Kızıltepe). The car is worked on stone, has axles of different length and pre-dates Indoeuropeans by a lot. 

Previously the oldest known toy cars were from Turkmenistan (Altyndepe) or Mesopotamia, being dated to the fourth millennium BCE.

Other findings in the same site (also worked on stone) are dolls and whistles, the latter still able to produce sounds. These however could be more recent, from the fourth millennium.

9 comments:

  1. It does indeed look like a tractor. I would post this story on my Facebook page but my friends and family might think that this tractor-like technology was planted by space aliens. If only the aliens had known how to make an internal combustion engine!

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  2. Shh... don't tell anyone but it was indeed a copy of alien technology (from planet AmerikkkaXXCenturyFox). ;P

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  3. For a find of such significance, why would the archaeologist go to the popular press before publishing a formal study?

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  4. I've said it numerous times: horses have nothing to do with IE, and wheels and carts have nothing to do with horses...

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  5. @Highlander: No idea. There may be a paper somewhere. This seems more a museum press initiative, maybe attempting to attract visitors by letting their treasures be known? It's not just the cart but stone whistles in perfect use and the oldest known property deed.

    @Eurologist: indeed. Of course IEs do have to do with horses, unless you question the Kurgan model, but they are not the developers, just the ones who took the greatest advantage of them.

    Carts are known to have been used with onagers (for what I have read) in Mesopotamia first. And this site is technically in Mesopotamia anyhow, although the Northern part of it.

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  6. "and pre-dates Indoeuropeans by a lot."

    This pre-dates Indoeuropeans in Kurdistan, but not necessarily Indo-Europeans generally, and one might imagine an Paoleo-Kurdish man on some trade mission bringing back a small toy from far away lands like the Pontic-Caspian steppe (the toy itself perhaps having traveled hundreds of miles via traders before he bought it) as a souvenir for a child. I'd be curious to know if the materials had a local source.

    Also, FWIW, it is interesting to note that while the wheel was never developed for practical use in the Pre-Columbian New World, that wheeled toys like the one shown did exist among the Aztecs and perhaps earlier pre-Columbian civilizations.

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  7. Proto-Indoeuropeans were surely coalescing in Samara valley, sure, but that's about it. It's obvious that Indoeuropeans benefited from certain concepts and advances of which they were essentially borrowers and that probably includes horse herding itself. Otherwise it'd be like attributing the opening of global oceanic routes to "the Indies" (West and East) to the English... or the invention of the trireme to the Romans... They just used them, they may have even made some improvements, but they did not develop them at all.

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  8. "Also, FWIW, it is interesting to note that while the wheel was never developed for practical use in the Pre-Columbian New World, that wheeled toys like the one shown did exist among the Aztecs and perhaps earlier pre-Columbian civilizations".

    True. They had the concept but no use for it.

    Reminds me of Dunlop, who invented the rubber tire for his son's bycicle but dismissed its possible use for cars of any kind - how wrongly!

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