Interdisciplinary Approaches to the Medieval Warhorse

Carly Ameen, Gary Baker, Helene Benkert, Camille Vo Van Qui, Robert Webley, Robert Liddiard, Alan K. Outram, Oliver H. Creighton

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Abstract

The warhorse is arguably the most characteristic animal of the English Middle Ages. But while the development and military uses of warhorses have been intensively studied by historians, the archaeological evidence is too often dispersed, overlooked or undervalued. Instead, we argue that to
fully understand the cultural significance and functional role of the medieval warhorse, a systematic study of the full range of archaeological evidence for warhorses (and horses more generally) from medieval England is necessary. This requires engagement with material evidence at a wide variety of scales — from individual artefacts through to excavated assemblages and landscape-wide
distributions — dating between the late Saxon and Tudor period (c. AD 800–1600). We present here a case study of our interdisciplinary engaged research design focusing upon an important English royal stud site at Odiham in Hampshire. This brings together several fields of study, including
(zoo)archaeology, history, landscape survey, and material culture studies to produce new understandings about a beast that was an unmistakable symbol of social status and a decisive weapon on the battlefield.
Original languageEnglish
Article number5
Pages (from-to)84-103
Number of pages19
JournalCheiron: the International Journal of Equine and Equestrian History
Volume1
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 9 Nov 2021

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