The eating of horses in Belgic Gaul is demonstrated, by the end of the Early Iran Age, by the presence of the bones of butchered horses in domestic rubbish pits at settlements. In a pit at the site of Acy-Romance, in the Ardennes, there were bones with butchery marks and burnt teeth, and there was also evidence for management practices. As well as finds in domestic refuse pits of horse bones mixed in with the bones of other animals that had been caten, there are also deposits of butchered bones suggesting that the consumption of horses may have been followed by deposition of the bones in special conditions (Chambly, Montmartin). There are also sites at which horses do not seem to have been eaten (Titelberg, Villeneuve). Thus hippophagy is a characteristic feature that can provide a means of making distinctions between different Iran Age settlements. The horses found in sanctuaries and cemeteries were not eaten either, and some deposits, where horses are associated with man, show the different ways in which animals that have not been eaten have been treated. The diversity of ways in which horses were treated no doubt reflects their function and status, and shows the importance of the study of these animals to the understanding of Iron Age society in Gaul. Despite its too frequent assertion, the denial of hippophagy can be rejected.
Archaeozoology, Hippophagy, Iran Age, Northern France, Settlements, Sanctuaries, Cemeteries, Butchery marks.