Dung Use Before Animal Domestication in Southwest Asia: Evidence from Early Natufian Shubayqa 1 (Northeastern Jordan)
In southwest Asia the use of dung as fuel has so far only been attested at agricultural sites, which relied on the exploitation of domesticated plants and animals. In this presentation we report the first evidence for dung use by hunter-gatherers in southwest Asia 15,000 years ago. Charred dung remains were found inside two stone-made hearth structures at the late Epipalaeolithic Natufian site Shubayqa 1. This evidence suggests that dung was recurrently gathered and used as fuel. The macro- and microscopic analyses of the dung pellets suggest that they probably derived from ovicaprids (like sheep), or alternatively, gazelle. In addition to dung pellets, fragments made of a mixture of dung and grasses were found, which may represent the remains of "dung cakes" or parts of compacted floors from penned areas. This suggests that raw dung may have been processed for the purpose of burning. The wood charcoal analyses from the two hearths indicate that the tree cover at the time of occupation was scarce. We therefore propose that at Shubayqa 1, dung was probably used as a supplementary fuel resource. Overall, these finds suggests that the use of certain animal by-products pre-dates the appearance of domesticated animals in southwest Asia.
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Dung Use Before Animal Domestication in Southwest Asia: Evidence from Early Natufian Shubayqa 1 (Northeastern Jordan). Amaia Arranz Otaegui, Ana Polo-Díaz, Tobias Richter. Presented at The 81st Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Vancouver, British Columbia. 2017 ( tDAR id: 429992)
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Abstract Id(s): 15790