Solutré: an emblem of horse hunting

The horse frequently appeared the game prized by prehistoric hunters in varying ways in different regions, eras and seasons. Although the use of slaughtered horses varied by region, it appears from various analyses that the horse was an important food source.

With its large horse bone deposits spanning the Upper Palaeolithic (37,000 BP – 10,000 BP), Solutré is emblematic of the traditions of hunting and consuming this animal during prehistory. Except in the Solutrean (22,000 BP – 17,000 BP) in which the reindeer was dominant, the horse was the main game hunted by prehistoric men at Solutré, most probably due to the herds' regular trips to the site. It is estimated that for over 20,000 years, from 32,000 to 100,000 horses were slaughtered on site.

The horse was the main game hunted by prehistoric men at Solutré.

Two types of horses existed successively: the short and stocky (1.40 m at the withers) Equus Caballus Gallicus, or “Solutrean horse” characteristic of the Aurignacian (33,000 BP to 26,000 BP) and the Gravettian (27,000 BP to 19,000 BP), and the Equus Caballus Arcelini (the name of the inventor of Solutré, Adrien Arcelin), which was lighter and had more slender limbs than the earlier horse, which was present only from the Magdalenian onwards. These prehistoric horses can be compared to wild horses such as Przewalski’s horse or the Tarpan.

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