Friday, October 12, 2018

The Handsome Horseman

A 20 year old Bell Beaker man was recently discovered in Rock, Northumberland wrapped in a horsehair blanket.  He was about 5'10" or 1.79m with remarkable skeletal symmetry and healthy, straight teeth.

A short video was later produced by the BBC here.

Handsome Horseman

You can see his grave is practically a vault.  Graves from Howick a few miles away are pretty stout as well.  Even though graves continue to be found in this area and along the beach, archaeologists have had a difficult time locating settlement activity in this neck of the woods during the time of the Beakers.

Head and horsehair (BBC)
The horsehair blanket is an interesting twist.  Assuming the coloration of the hair coat is in fact bay, then we should assume that the horsehair blanket was made from the hair coat of a domesticated horse.

the funerary beaker (Jessica Turner via the BBC)

Archaeozoologist Laura Kaagan has done work on the Beaker period horses and believes the Exmoor pony to be similar in form, if not an unimproved descendant of those early Beaker period horses.  Hopefully we will see some genetic testing of this horsehair blanket since we can be fairly sure of its color and utilization by the Beakers.  Although I'm not too optimistic about genetic analysis on domestics, we may get some surprise relations to the Exmoor.

Exmoor ponies (commons)