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Investigating use of space and human-animal interactions in agricultural built environments: the geo-ethnoarchaeology of livestock dung

Portillo Ramirez, M. and Matthews, W. (2020) Investigating use of space and human-animal interactions in agricultural built environments: the geo-ethnoarchaeology of livestock dung. In: Otto, A., Herles, M. and Kaniuth, K. (eds.) Proceedings of the 11th International Congress on the Archaeology of the Ancient Near East. Harrassowitz, Wiesbaden, Germany, pp. 497-508. ISBN 9783447113663

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Abstract/Summary

Livestock dung is a valuable ubiquitous material within built environments as it embeds critical information on a range of environmental and ecological issues and socio-economic and cultural life-ways. Dung, however, is regularly overlooked, due in part to methodological challenges in its identification and to research frameworks. This paper reviews the contribution of integrated analytical techniques in geoarchaeology and archaeobotany to interdisciplinary approaches and debates on the identification of dung. Geo-ethnoarchaeological and experimental approaches provide comparative datasets and models on factors affecting dung formation and preservation, and the natural and anthropogenic pathways influencing these. A selection of geo-ethnoarchaeological case-studies are presented here from the Near East, one of the key heartlands in which plants and animals that were domesticated occur naturally, and from northern Africa, a potentially critical area in the development of agriculture with implications for surrounding regions including the Mediterranean and the Sahara. These case-studies demonstrate the value of much needed interdisciplinary studies of livestock dung for delineating human-animal interactions, use of living spaces and energy sources, with particular focus on early food-producing communities and the development of farming systems.

Item Type:Book or Report Section
Refereed:Yes
Divisions:Faculty of Science > School of Archaeology, Geography and Environmental Science > Department of Archaeology
ID Code:90535
Publisher:Harrassowitz

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