30 Apr 2020

At https://arstechnica.com/science/2020/04/ancient-mongol-warrior-women-may... .... the story of Mulan, who disguises herself as a man to fight for the Chinese emperor, may have been inspired by real life woman warriors. These were the Xlanbei, an ancient semi nomadic people from Mongolia and NE China. Now, actual physical evidence of them may have been uncovered. Three skeletons of Xlanbei women have marks on their bones that suggested they not only routinely rode horses but used the bow as a weapon. They were mounted archers rather than foot soldiers employed for close combat.

Over at www.tehrantimes.com/news/447180/Jiroft-a-magnificent-cradle-of-civilization ... Jiroft was discovered early in the 21st century after flooding by the Halil River. It swept top soil from above hundreds of previously unknown tombs dating to the EB Age. The discovery of grave goods a plenty led to unauthorised excavation by the locals but once the authorities were aware of the importance opf the discovery they quickly put in place archaeologists to properly excavate what appears to be a lot of settlements in the general region.

Situated in SE Iran, in Kerman Province, Jiroft is surrounded by mountains on three sides. The region had been overlooked by archaeologists but when the pottery was pulled from the tombs that pottery was familiar to the same archaeologists. Jiroft ceramics have been found from the Euphrates in the west to the Indus in the east, and from Amu darya in the north to an island near Bahrein in the south. Essentially, a city was uncovered which had its origins in around 3000BC. Its heyday was between 2500 and 2200BC, we are told, smack bang in the middle of the EB collapse of civilisation in the Levant and Mesopotamia. Some clarification on that is required - but it will take time (probably over several seasons of excavation). Some people think it might be the mysterious Aratta - but others place this in more far flung locations. Whatever, the region appears to have been an autochthonous Bronze Age civilisation that was previously unknown (although its pottery turns up at many sites in nearby locations). It had its own trade routes, indicated by lapis lazuli from Afghanistan and carnelian from the Indus. Turquoise, agate, and other imported semi-precious stones. The inhabitants developed agriculture based around date palms. Groves of dates provided shade for extensive kitchn gardening.