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The Domestication of Equidae in Third-Millennium BCE Mesopotamia

Juris Zarins and Rick Hauser
Bibliographical reference

Juris Zarins, Rick Hauser, The Domestication of Equidae in Third-Millennium BCE Mesopotamia, Cornell University Studies in Assyriology and Sumerology, vol. 24, (2014), pp. XI + 432 (ISBN 978-1934309-513)


It has been forty years since the first edition of this book, as an Oriental Institute doctoral dissertation, was completed. Now, in a fully revised and much expanded study, CUSAS 24 presents a comprehensive discussion of the philological, historical, and archaeological evidence for the range of equidae known now from much of Western

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1Asia after a century of intense study and excavation. The study provides a unique perspective from the viewpoint of field archaeologists on the complex issues associated with the physical study of the remains of equidae and their associated terminology in cuneiform sources as well as their artistic representation. The study integrates diverse and recently excavated data, which reflect a wide geographical and chronological range, with cuneiform sources and new artistic finds to create a synthesis that will serve as a basis for all future research on the subject.

2The volume includes numerous illustrations, photographs, and charts that enhance the presentation of the data. Figurines are prominently featured in sections about artistic representation and seen in context of other research in cuneiform studies and archaeological documentation. In fact, it is they who offer incontrovertible evidence regarding the presence of domesticated equidae. Being subject to measurement (ratio, proportion, discrete measurement) and analysis of the relationship of diagnostic body parts to each other, the evidence they afford is subject to verification, whereas sealings and other pictorial representations are difficult to identify with certainty.

3The volume will be of interest to archaeologists, anthropologists, Assyriologists, and to all those interested in the role of equidae in the early history of Mesopotamia and Western Asia.

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Electronic reference

Juris Zarins and Rick Hauser, The Domestication of Equidae in Third-Millennium BCE MesopotamiaLes Carnets de l’ACoSt [Online], 12 | 2014, Online since 12 March 2015, connection on 27 May 2024. URL:; DOI:

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About the authors

Juris Zarins

Department of Sociology and Antroplology of Missouri State University

Rick Hauser

IIMAS (International Institute for Mesopotamian Area Studies)

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The text only may be used under licence CC BY-NC-ND 4.0. All other elements (illustrations, imported files) are “All rights reserved”, unless otherwise stated.

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