“Vet’s dog theory over ancient Uffington White Horse” is the third most-read item on today’s BBC news. It heads the list of archaeological news stories on the American Archaeology magazine website. James Meikle at the Guardian seems to be the first to have spotted the story, which originated in a letter to the Veterinary Record. “Anatomically it’s not a horse at all”, wrote Olaf Swarbrick of the Uffington figure. “It’s too long and too lean and it has a long tail – horses don’t have a tail the length of that stylised creature at Uffington. If I’m correct, it needs to have its horse removed – maybe the wolf hound of Uffington.”
Wonderful stuff. Why not a dog? And now the Guardian even has a poll, so we can vote on it.
In response to one of several mind-bendingly rude comments on the Guardian piece, Olaf Swarbrick is a real name, and it belongs to a retired vet and a lovely man – who happens to be my uncle. He recently addressed a letter on the same theme to the editor of British Archaeology – who happens to be me. I didn’t publish it. After all, he’d written to the editor along much the same lines in 2004, and I published his letter then. You can read it here.