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Subject: horses
From: "S.T.Champion" <[log in to unmask]>
Reply-To:CELTIC-L - The Celtic Culture List.
Date:Fri, 12 Nov 1993 11:10:13 GMT

text/plain (30 lines)

Re Tom Delaney's question about horses in Ireland, Scotland etc, the
archaeological evidence shows their presence in probably domesticated form by
around 2000 BC.  Certainly they are known from the Orkneys by that time, and
also from Newgrange Co. Meath, NOT from the earlier passage tomb but from the
Beaker phase settlement in the area between the tomb and the stone circle, with
a series of radiocarbon dates centreing around 2000 BC.  In England too they
are known from the henge monument at Durrington Walls at not far off the same
date.  As to whether they were 'brought in' or were indigenous, there's a nice
little archaeozoological controversy running on that very issue: the Durrington
Walls bones are the subject of dispute as to whether they are of wild or
domesticated animals (if the former, then of course they are indigenous, but
if so that's a very late domestication).  There is almost certain horse
material from the Late Glacial site at Flixton, which if it were absolutely
certain would again suggest wild horses in these islands before the land bridge
between England and Ireland was breached in the post-glacial.  I have a
discussion document on these issues which I'll try and ferret out and summarise
for Tom - it probably won't interest the whole list.  Incidentally, the
Newgrange horses would have been quite small, standing about 120-128 cm high
at the withers.  From 2000 BC on there is plenty of archaeological evidence for
horse from all areas of Britain and Ireland.
           *  Sara Champion M.A., D. Phil   *  I have spread     *
           *  Department of Archaeology     *  my dreams under   *
           *  University of Southampton     *  your feet;        *
           *  Southampton SO9 5NH, U.K.     *  Tread softly,     *
           *  email: [log in to unmask]  *  because you tread *
           *  Tel: 0703 557031              *  on my dreams.     *

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