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Evidence for Dung Burning in the Archaeobotanical Record of Central Asia

Author(s): Robert Spengler

Year: 2017

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In the early 1980s Naomi Miller changed the way paleoethnobotanists in several parts of the world approached the interpretation of their data. With her research into whether the ancient seed eaters of southwest Asia were human or herbivore, she opened an ongoing debate over what impact the burning of animal dung had on archaeobotanical assemblages and how researchers can differentiate between human and animal food remains. As the number of systematic paleoethnobotanical studies across Central Asia increase, we are continually confronted with the topic of dung burning. Herd animal dung is the dominant fuel source across much of Central Asia today and the high densities of wild seeds in archaeobotanical assemblages seem to suggest that people were using dung as fuel across Inner Asia for millennia. Seed assemblages that represent herd animal dung are helping scholars in Central Asia understand paleoecology and herd animal diet in the past.

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Evidence for Dung Burning in the Archaeobotanical Record of Central Asia. Robert Spengler. Presented at The 81st Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Vancouver, British Columbia. 2017 ( tDAR id: 430592)


Geographic Keywords
West Asia

Spatial Coverage

min long: 25.225; min lat: 15.115 ; max long: 66.709; max lat: 45.583 ;

Record Identifiers

Abstract Id(s): 14423

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