This is incredibly cool. Will this world end up developing a horse analog? Perhaps some version of reindeer or cattle (perhaps even something elephant related?) bred for more horse-like characteristics? Or will this world depend much more heavily on maritime travel to move things around?Continuing in the Kurgan-free Otterverse:
The Taman Wreck and the world's oldest 'map'
Discovered in the Kerch Strait and carbon-dated to 1771 BC ± 50y, the Taman Shipwreck provides an invaluable insight into material culture and trade in the early Bronze Age Danubian city-states that succeeded the Vylkove Culture. A sewn-plank ship reconstructed as being roughly 14m long by 3m wide, the vessel foundered in a sudden storm while laden with trade goods and was almost immediately buried in silt, preserving the ship’s contents to a remarkable degree.
A reconstruction of the ship has shown that it would have been seaworthy enough to undertake quite lengthy journeys around the Black Sea either under oar or sail power (although it is highly likely that such journeys as were seldom involved travelling more than a mile or so from the coast except where absolutely necessary). Analyses of the ship’s cargo has unearthed copper sickles and ceremonial axes, ornate pottery, tin (transported from the Erzgebirge to the Danube and then ferried to the Black Sea) and cage-like structures tentatively identified as intended to store hunting otters for export): it is likely that these goods were intended for exchange along the Colchian coast for timber, gold and honey.
The most intriguing find in the shipwreck, however, is a bone fragment about fifteen inches long, which bears deliberate markings on one side: these have (controversially) been identified as comprising, in part, the world’s oldest physical map or itinerary, covering the salient geographical features which could be used as way-points when sailing from an unknown point of origin in the Danube delta (potentially linked with the slightly later city-state of Kütuŋessu. A possible reconstruction of the route (and identification of specific marks with the coastline of the Black Sea) is shown above.