3,000-Year-Old Leather Sports Balls Discovered In China, The Oldest In Eurasia

KEY POINTS

  • Researchers found what might be the oldest known balls in Eurasia
  • It’s not clear how the game was played but it was likely part of exercise and military training
  • The ball game possibly arose around the same time as horseback riding

Researchers found what may just be the oldest ancient balls in Eurasia. The find provides evidence that ball games were already around in Europe and Asia earlier than previously thought.

In a new study, a team of German and Chinese researchers report the discovery of three ancient balls that were recovered from the graves in the prehistoric Yanghai cemetery in northeast China. They are made of leather and measure somewhere between 7.4 and 9.2 centimeters.

Radiocarbon dating of the balls reveals that they are likely from 2,900 to 3,200 years ago, making them the oldest balls in the region.

“This makes these balls about five centuries older

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