Thursday, October 14, 2010

Horse goes to the dogs

Today sees a rare foray into the field of ancient religion for Always Hope. The mystical White Horse of Uffington, which allegedly represents the spiritual longings of our Bronze Age ancestors, has been subject to the scrutiny of the satisfyingly named Olaf Swarbrick. Mr Swarbrick's iconoclastic conclusion is that the horse thing has us all barking up the wrong tree: what we're seeing is actually a big white dog.

Exhibit A:













Mr Swarbrick is a retired vet, so unless his memory is suffering, we must assume he knows his horse from his dog. But with due respect to his anatomical expertise, his theory seems to rest on the observation that it doesn't look much like a horse.  Put like this, it starts to seem a bit less original. Most casual observers would have to have the animal identified if seeing it without prior warning because, let's be honest, it doesn't look much like a dog either, or any other recognisable creature of the Oxfordshire landscape. 

Of course the fascination of prehistory is that no-one really knows what these things are, and everyone feels able to write their own preconceptions on to them. But I guess it's possible that this is just a horse, looking as it does because it's a work of art, something created to bring beauty to the environment and to realise the vision of the human imagination.  That seems just as exciting as anybody else's theory (and possibly more credible).

1 comment:

DNA said...

My son in law has just finished a commission to clean it and put the dirty bits into a plastic bag and binned it!