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Archaeologists Discover Remarkable Remains of Horses Interred Two Millennia Ago


In France, archaeologists have made a remarkable discovery, unearthing nine graves that hold the remains of 28 horses dating back approximately 2,000 years. Found in Villedieu-sur-Indre, central France, two of these graves have been fully investigated so far, as reported by the French National Institute for Preventive Archaeological Research (INRAP).

Carbon dating places the horses between 100 BC and 100 AD. In one pit, ten intact horse skeletons were carefully arranged, while the other contained two. All were positioned similarly, lying on their right side with their heads facing south. Adjacent to these graves lies another with two medium-sized dogs, positioned on their left side facing west.

Though the exact cause of death remains uncertain, researchers have discounted an epidemic due to the absence of foals or mares; all the skeletons belong to fully mature stallions aged over four years. This leaves two possible explanations: death in battle or as part of a ritual sacrifice.

The proximity to a fortified Celtic settlement, known as an oppidum, and the resemblance to similar burial sites in the region, suggests a connection to the Gallic Wars of 58 - 50 BC, during which Julius Caesar conquered Gaul.

However, the possibility of ritual sacrifice cannot be ignored. INRAP suggests that these animals may have been part of a complex ritual, the details of which are now lost. If so, the sheer number of horses buried underscores the significance of the event.

Further excavation at the site, which also includes buildings, pits, ditches, and a road dating to the late 5th and early 6th centuries, may reveal more insights into the ancient practices and beliefs of the area.

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