© Musée dauphinois

Harness roundels, Colletière (Isère), 11th century

In 1008 or 1010, a group of settlers consisting of men, women and children moved to Colletière (Isère), on the shores of Lake Paladru. Living off of animal husbandry, fishing and agriculture, these farmers had many horses, evidenced by the pieces discovered: horseshoes, harnesses, trees, spurs and bits. Studies and the discovery of many weapons at the site have revealed that these horses were not eaten, but used for military purposes and ridden by “knight”-peasants. Also, excavations have uncovered remarkable enamel cabochons. These pieces were surely attached to the horse's harness just below the animal’s ear. This attention paid to the appearance of the mounts (and, of course, their riders) illustrates the special place of horses in society.