Archeologists are trying to unravel the enigma surrounding the discovery of ancient horse bones found buried in limekilns in the National Park.
The Ingleborough Archaeology Group discovered neat piles of almost identical sets of bones in kilns that had been abandoned and backfilled.
Group chairman David Johnson voiced his surprise: “These were not animals that fell in or were thrown in.
“There are many accounts of animals and other items being buried in the foundations of buildings while they were being constructed, but I have never found any examples of this happening as a closure ritual – this seems to be unique to these kilns,” he said.
The Ingleborough Archaeology Group have suggested that some form of ritual was performed in order to ward off evil spirits.
It is thought these kilns were in use between about 1620 and 1670, a period when primitive ritual activity was rife.
Yet, Robert White, Senior Conservation Archaeologist within the Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority said:“Why these particular bones were being buried in a kiln that was being backfilled after use is something else.
“We would be very interested to hear from anyone who has come across similar activity.”