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A chariot is an ancient horse-drawn two-wheeled vehicle used in primarily for war and transport, then later in races and processions. There is much debate on how the chariot first emerged, with people arguing that chariots first emerged along with the wheel in Mesopotamia, while others postulate an origin with Central Asian horse-breeding cultures. Excavation of graves in the ruins of the old Sumerian city of Ur (near Nasiriyah in present-day Iraq) by Wooley in the 1920s revealed that the Sumerians of the early 3rd millenium BCE used large four-wheeled vehicles possibly drawn by donkeys, but these wagons differed greatly from true chariots, which were built for speed, could at best carry only up to three people, and had two wheels instead of four - possibly for reasons of speed and mobility. A chariot could either function as a transport for dignitaries (the most common use) or in suitable terrain, be used as a platform for the use of missile weapons in hit-and-run tactics.
Regardless of the chariot's origins, what is most certain is that the proliferation of chariotry took place after 2000BCE in Europe, Asia and the Middle East. Yet equally tenuous too is, at present, how chariots first emerged in Egypt. Previously it was thought that the Semitic Hyksos people introduced the use of chariot cavalry to the Egyptians during their settlement of Lower Egypt around 1700BCE, but some have suggested that the ancient Egyptians had long begun experimenting with chariots well before the arrival of the Hyksos in Egypt. Whatever the case, the Egyptians built upon the original design for the chariot and improved it by making it lighter, changing the location of the chariot's axle so that the driver would stand closer to it and casing parts of the axle with metal in order to decrease the resistance between it and the wooden wheel hub. Weapon tests using an Egyptian chariot a few years ago indicated that this chariot was very mobile, and was an ideal weapons platform especially for the use of javelins and composite bow archery.
- Warbirth Wiki, Werryt — History