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Found: A 5,000-Year-Old Toy Chariot

Kids have been playing with miniature vehicles since the Bronze Age.

A 5,000-year-old toy chariot and wheels, found in the ancient city of Sogmatar, in southeastern Turkey
A 5,000-year-old toy chariot and wheels, found in the ancient city of Sogmatar, in southeastern Turkey Halil Fidan/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

The ancient settlement of Soğmatar, which thrived 5,000 years ago, back to the Bronze age, might seem like a world detached from our own. By legend, this is the place where Moses came after killing an Egyptian overseer and had to flee the palace where he grew up. The people here had built their city around a large hill, and they worshipped a moon god, called Sin.

But, as a new discovery shows, in some ways, the people of Soğmatar had lives not so different from our own. Their children played with rattles and the Bronze Age equivalent of toy cars—tiny toy chariots with four wheels, the Hurriyet Daily News reports.

Since May, an archaeological team has been excavating dozens of the 120 tombs found during a surface survey in 2012. In one child’s tomb, they found a toy horse carriage, scaled down to a child’s size, along with a rattle decorated with birds. Those toys were meant for the children of high-ranking people, according to Harran University’s Yusuf Albayrak, who is leading the project.

Today, the miniatures we make for kids might be cars, trucks, and planes, but one principle of human nature has remained the same for thousands of years: Kids love pushing tiny vehicles around.