Archaeology Magazine

A publication of the Archaeological Institute of America

Special Introductory Offer!

Why Brits Stopped Eating Horsemeat

Friday, February 22, 2013

NOTTINGHAM, ENGLAND—A new report published in the Oxford Journal of Archaeology tracks how horsemeat fell out of favor as a component of the British diet from the A.D. sixth to eighth century. Looking at faunal remains at various settlements, study author Kristopher Poole, a doctoral candidate at Nottingham University, explains that at early sites remains of horse heads are often found, though other bones are not—indicating Anglo Saxons of the time were feasting on equine meat. Data from the end of the eighth century suggests that eating of horsemeat then fell out of practice. Poole suggests that the cause for the reduction in dining on horse might have been driven by the spread of Christianity during the same period of time. Horsemeat was likely associated with pagan practices, which would have been suppressed at that time.