3 000-year-old Game Balls Found Buried With Ancient Chinese Warriors

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A set of leather balls have been discovered in ancient Chinese tombs that were used by horseback riding warriors about 3,000 years ago to stay fit and war ready.
Researchers from the University of Zurich found the artifacts in three graves located at the prehistoric Yanghai cemetery near the city of Turfan.
The balls are designed with sheepskin pulled together with leather thread and stuffed with leather strips - all of which are about the size of a baseball.
Although the team is unsure how the balls were used, a wall painting in one of the tombs that shows two men on horseback with sticks and a ball engaging in what looks like a form of hockey.
A set of leather balls have been discovered in ancient Chinese tombs that were used by horseback riding warriors about 3,000 years ago in games used to stay fit and war ready
The University of Zurich collaborated with teams in Germany and China for the study, which found the balls are the oldest to be discovered in Eurasia.
Patrick Wertmann of the Institute of Asian and Oriental Studies of the University of Zurich, said: 'This makes these balls about five centuries older than the previously known ancient balls and depictions of ball games in Eurasia.'
RELATED ARTICLES Share this article Share 'Unfortunately, however, the associated archaeological information is not sufficient to answer the question of exactly how these balls were played.'
The team does write in the published that the balls were used in team and goal sport and suggest the game was likely similar to hockey, golf or polo.
The balls are designed with sheepskin pulled together with leather thread and stuffed with leather strips - all of which are about the size of a baseball
Although the team is unsure how the balls were used, they did find a wall painting in one of the tombs that shows two men on horseback with sticks and a ball engaging in what looks like a form of hockey
The earliest illustrations from Greece show ball players running, and High-class Bronze paintings hanging in the living room paintings depictions from China show riders using sticks.
Comparable curved sticks were also found in Yanghai, but there was no apparent direct connection with the balls.
And they are dated to a more recent period.
'Therefore, the leather balls from Yanghai are not connected to early forms of field hockey or polo, even though two of the balls were found in the graves of horsemen,' said Wertmann.
Along with the ancient balls, researchers also uncovered a bow and a pair of trousers Bronze paintings hanging in the living room one of the graves.
Researchers from the University of Zurich found the artifacts in three graves located at the prehistoric Yanghai cemetery near the city of Turfan
These artifacts 'are both signs of a new era of horse riding, equestrian warfare and fundamental societal transformations which accompanied increasing environmental changes and a rising mobility in eastern Central Asia,' the team shared.