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A New Multi-Scalar, Multi-Methodology for the Detection, Identification and Analysis of Ancient Animal Dung

Author(s): Sarah Elliott ; Wendy Matthews

Year: 2017

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Animal domestication has traditionally been investigated through archaeozoological approaches which can be problematic and may not detect the earliest stages in this important transformation (Zeder 2006). The study of dung provides an alternative line of evidence for the investigation of: animal presence and proximity, increased animal management, domestication and sedentism, potential secondary product use, animal diet and environment. To identify and analyse faecal material there is still the need for development of an integrated and systematic field and laboratory approach (Shillito et al. 2011; Shahack-Gross 2011). The standardisation and integration of analytical methods for faecal material identification and analysis is the primary step required in future dung research. This research develops a multidisciplinary approach that integrates field and laboratory analyses of archaeological dung from the Neolithic with comparative reference to modern ethnoarchaeological samples as control data. The aim in this research was to develop a methodology that enables detection and examination faecal deposits in the field as well as in specialist laboratories. Once dung remains have been successfully located using field methods, interdisciplinary analyses in the laboratory can inform on their type, content and context and provide direct evidence on interactions and relations between animals and plants, humans and environments.

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A New Multi-Scalar, Multi-Methodology for the Detection, Identification and Analysis of Ancient Animal Dung. Sarah Elliott, Wendy Matthews. Presented at The 81st Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Vancouver, British Columbia. 2017 ( tDAR id: 429989)


Geographic Keywords
East/Southeast Asia

Spatial Coverage

min long: 66.885; min lat: -8.928 ; max long: 147.568; max lat: 54.059 ;

Record Identifiers

Abstract Id(s): 15068

Arizona State University The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation National Science Foundation National Endowment for the Humanities Society for American Archaeology Archaeological Institute of America