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Who were the Scythians? Central Asian history

By | 2017-09-14T15:45:16+00:00 September 14th, 2017|Central Asia, History|

Scythian milking a sheep (Tolstaja Mogila kurgan, Ukraine, 400 BC) The Scythians were a large group of loosely connected people who lived in Russia. They also lived further south around the Black Sea and the Caspian Sea.  Like the Hittites, the Greeks and the Germans, they were Indo-Europeans. We don't know when the Scythians first formed a group. But by 600 BC they were [...]

Scythian art history – Central Asian art

By | 2017-09-11T22:57:06+00:00 September 11th, 2017|Art, Central Asia|

Scythian deer from about 700-500 B.C. It is made out of gold, and it's now in St. Petersburg. The Scythians were horse-riding nomads, who traveled around the western part of Central Asia taking care of their big herds of cattle and hunting wild animals like this deer. Scythian art was mostly small, so people could carry it around conveniently. For [...]

Late Middle Ages timeline – 1100-1500 AD

By | 2017-10-13T13:09:23+00:00 September 10th, 2017|Central Asia, History, When|

The Mongol court (1200s AD) After the warming trend of 1000 AD came a colder period around 1300 AD called the Little Ice Age. Again, people felt the effects around the world. In Central Asia, the Mongols rose to power in the late 1200s AD. They conquered China, Russia, northern India, and most of the Islamic Empire and united them into one huge [...]

Late Bronze Age timeline: 2000 – 1000 BC

By | 2017-09-10T17:55:52+00:00 September 10th, 2017|Central Asia, History|

Earliest known spoked wheels, from a grave in western Siberia When about 2000 BC the Central Asians invented better wheels with spokes, so you could fight from your chariot, a new wave of Indo-Europeans moved from Central Asia west to Greece, and Italy, or south into Egypt and Iran, and from Iran about 1500 BC to India. Some of [...]

Bronze Age timeline: 4000-2000 BC

By | 2017-09-10T17:45:55+00:00 September 10th, 2017|Central Asia, History|

A clay pot with a drawing of a wheeled cart from what is now Poland, about 3500 BC Around 4000 BC, there were enough people in West Asia, Egypt, China, and Peru for them to live in small cities (about 10,000-50,000 people). These places began to choose kings to govern them. Then they formed the first small empires. They built the [...]

Steel history – medieval to modern steel

By | 2017-09-07T22:22:19+00:00 September 7th, 2017|Central Asia, Science|

Safavid steel helmet (Iran, 1500s AD) The wars after the collapse of the Mongol Empire in the 1300s stopped steel production in Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan. But metal-workers kept on making high quality crucible steel under the Pandyas, the Mughals, and the Safavid Empire. The wars also made it hard to travel on the Silk Road, so traders started trying to go by sea [...]

What was smallpox? History of disease

By | 2017-09-07T09:51:49+00:00 September 7th, 2017|Central Asia, Science|

A baby with smallpox (from the CDC) Smallpox was a very serious disease caused by a virus. Many people died of it. Smallpox caused little bumps on your skin, like chickenpox but much more serious. About two to five of every ten people who got smallpox died of it. There was (and is still) [...]

What is opium? World history of medicine and drugs

By | 2017-09-07T09:33:48+00:00 September 7th, 2017|Central Asia, Science|

Opium poppy flower Opium comes from a kind of poppy flower. It evolved around 100 million years ago in West Asia and Central Asia. People probably realized as soon as they got to West Asia, about 60,000 years ago, that you could use opium as a medicine. By 6000 BC, in the Stone Age, West Asian farmers were already growing opium in their [...]

Wheel and axle – Simple machines – Physics

By | 2018-01-11T14:09:22+00:00 August 17th, 2017|Central Asia, Physics|

An Egyptian potter uses a pottery wheel, about 2000 BC Wheels do not exist in nature, and no animals use them except people. Even people didn't use wheels until the early Bronze Age, around 3500 BC, much later than the other simple machines (the lever and the inclined plane). Who invented the wheel? The earliest evidence for people [...]

The Yamnaya and the Indo-European language family

By | 2017-12-31T12:34:32+00:00 July 27th, 2017|Central Asia, History|

Yamnaya get around: Map of the spread of Indo-European languages Who were the Yamnaya? People we call the Yamnaya (Ukrainian for "People who lived in pits") seem to have been speaking an early version of the Indo-European language at least as early as 5000 BC in the area between the Black Sea and the Caspian [...]