A lot of history forums and subreddits confuse me, but the main thing I got out of them was pointer to sources I did not know about. One of those sources that I learned about in 2009 was the Orlat Battle Plaques. These are polished bone belt-ends from a grave near Samarkand dating sometime between the 2nd and 4th century CE. On the right plaque mounted archers chase ungulates, while on the left plaque cataphracts battle with swords, lances, and piercing axes / sagareis.
The old forum thread just assumed that everyone knew about them because bad forums, but now the Smithsonian has a page on them https://sogdians.si.edu/orlat-plaque/ They are Institute of Art Studies, Academy of Sciences of Uzbekistan, Tashkent; IX/278 and IX/279
A student of early Iran should ideally study the Eurasian steppes as well. I can’t do that properly because I don’t read Russian but I am glad to know about these plaques! I wish more people would share cool things with people who have not heard of them.
Further Reading: Jangar Ya. Ilyasov and Dimitry V. Rusanov, “A Study on the Bone Plaques from Orlat,” Silk Road Art and Archaeology 5 (1997–98), pl. IV:1.
PS. I try to give context for the cool things I share, but the double empathy problem and experts’ disease / XKCD #2501 are things! If you need context for one of my posts, please feel free to ask.
Edit 2023-06-28: PS. Nadeem of Iran ud Turan has a post on these too https://www.patreon.com/posts/orlat-battle-21304435
(scheduled 14 February 2023)