Prehistory of the Silk Road

By E. E. Kuzmina; Victor H. Mair | Go to book overview

Chapter 6
Conclusion

As a result of the analysis performed here, several matters have been established.

1. The functioning of certain sections of the future Silk Road, along which spread people, objects, and ideas, commenced at least as long ago as the latter half of the third millennium B.C. and considerably intensified in the second millennium B.C.

2. We have identified the prevailing orientations of the cultural relations in different regions at different historical stages and the times at which the functioning of certain sections of the future Silk Road routes started and was most intense.

3. We have determined the pivotal role of the Eurasian Steppe populations in establishing pan-Eurasian ethnic and cultural relations in the course of the Copper and Bronze Ages.

4. We have also shown the role of the Steppe in the development of transport, which intensified the potential for ethnic migrations and exchange along the Silk Road routes.

5. Allowing for the decisive role of the interaction of man and nature in the cultural evolution and the fact of arrhythmia, intrinsic to the Steppe ecology, we have made an attempt to correlate the dynamics of the change of the natural and climatic conditions of the Steppe with the stages of cultural evolution and the regional characteristics of this process.

During the late Neolithic and the early Copper Age, the Eurasian Steppe was divided into two large regions: the European one to the west of the Urals and the Asian one to the east of the Urals.

The peoples of the Southern Russian Steppe were closely interlinked, belonging to the successively changing and, probably, related communities: Mariupol, Sredny Stog, and Pit-Grave. They were part of the circle of European cultures, maintaining particularly intensive relations with the farmers of the Balkans and the Danube Region, whence the food-producing economy (farming, cattle, and sheep or goat) was brought to the Steppe and metal was introduced.

The domestication of the horse was a tremendous contribution of

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