The article addresses models of carts found at Altyn-Depe – a key Chalcolithic and Bronze Age settlement in Western Central Asia, dating to the late 4th – early 3rd millennia BC. This is the earliest evidence of wheeled transport in the region, providing information on the type and construction of carts used by the early agriculturalists of the Middle East. The models represent two-wheeled carts with shafts that were apparently linked to a yoke. Judging by representations of the harness, bulls (possibly oxen) were the only draft animals. In the second half of the 3rd millennium BC, fourwheeled carts appeared at Altyn-Depe. The most common type had high walls and two shafts, drawn by a single animal – a camel or, less often, a bull. Under the increasingly arid climate, the camel became the principal draft animal in Western Central Asia. The two types of carts – two-wheeled and four-wheeled – attest to two periods of intense contacts between people of Southern Turkmenistan and those of the adjoining regions.
Keywords: Chalcolithic, Bronze Age, earliest wheeled transport, Western Central Asia, Altyn-Depe, draft animals,
draft camel, models of wheels, two-wheeled and four-wheeled carts.