Thousands of years ago, a beloved chariot-pulling horse drew its last breath and was lovingly buried in a special tomb in the Nile River Valley. After the passing of 3,000 years, archaeologists discovered the skeletal remains of the animal, making it the only fully intact skeleton of a horse from this age that has ever been found.
The ancient horse was originally recovered in 2011 at a site known as Tombos, a region which is currently part of Sudan. As Live Science report, Tombos was first incorporated by Egyptians in 1450 BCE as a useful location to observe what was happening in the kingdom of Nubia.
However, after Tombos decided that they no longer wanted to be part of the Egyptian empire, they eventually joined forces with the vital Nubian community around them. For this reason, ancient artifacts that have been discovered in this area show both Egyptian and Nubian influences.
Before archaeologists first alighted on the 3,000-year-old chariot-pulling horse, they found what was a massive burial complex, complete with a chapel and pyramid, while lurking underground were various chambers that were reserved especially for the privileged and elite members of this society.
With the remains of 200 individuals found here, there were scant animal remains immediately observable at first. This all changed when archaeologists discovered a shaft directly beneath the chapel which led to the surprising discovery of the long-buried horse.
— Live Science (@LiveScience) April 26, 2018
As Purdue University’s Michelle Buzon described, it was clear to archaeologists that this 3,000-year-old horse had been given a burial fit for a human and was an act that was purely intentional.
“It was clear that the horse was an intentional burial, which was super fascinating.”
Amazingly, there were still tiny amounts of brown and white fur attached to the horse’s lower legs, and to determine an accurate date for the horse’s burial, researchers used what was left of a shroud that had once fully covered the horse and discovered that the horse would have been buried sometime between the years 1005 and 893 BCE.
To show how much importance was attached to this horse, archaeologists noted that part of its iron bridle had been buried with it, along with the sacred carving of a scarab. Interestingly, the residual remains of iron that were pulled from the horse’s tomb have been found to be the oldest example of iron ever to be found anywhere in Africa.
Researchers were also able to ascertain that the 3,000-year-old horse had been between 12 to 15 years of age when it died, and it was also clear when looking at the animal’s spine and ribs that it had led a very full life pulling chariots.
The new study on the 3,000-year-old horse found buried in a luxurious tomb in the Nile River Valley can be read in the Cambridge journal, Antiquity.