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Livestock faecal indicators for animal management, penning, foddering and dung use in early agricultural built environments in the Konya Plain, Central Anatolia

Portillo Ramirez, M., García-Suárez, A. and Matthews, W. ORCID: (2020) Livestock faecal indicators for animal management, penning, foddering and dung use in early agricultural built environments in the Konya Plain, Central Anatolia. Archaeological and Anthropological Sciences, 12. 40. ISSN 1866-9565

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To link to this item DOI: 10.1007/s12520-019-00988-0


Livestock dung is a valuable material for reconstructing human and animal inter-relations and activity within open areas and built environments. This paper examines the identification and multi-disciplinary analysis of dung remains from three neighbouring sites in the Konya Plain of Central Anatolia, Turkey: Boncuklu (9th-8th millennium cal BC), the Çatalhöyük East Mound (8th-6th millennium cal BC), and the Late Neolithic occupation at the Pınarbaşı rockshelter (7th millennium cal BC). It presents and evaluates data on animal management strategies and husbandry practices through the simultaneous examination of plant and faecal microfossils and biomarkers with thin-section micromorphology and integrated phytolith, dung spherulite, and biomolecular analyses, together with comparative reference geo-ethnoarchaeological assemblages. Herbivore dung and other coprogenic materials have been identified predominantly in open areas, pens and midden deposits through micromorphology and the chemical signatures of their depositional contexts and composition. Accumulations of herbivore faecal material and burnt remains containing calcitic spherulites and phytoliths have provided new information on animal diet, fodder and dung fuel. Evidence from phytoliths from in situ penning deposits at early Neolithic Çatalhöyük have provided new insights into foddering/grazing practices by identifying highly variable herbivorous regimes including both dicotyledonous and grass-based diets. This review illustrates the variability of dung deposits within early agricultural settlements and their potential for tracing continuity and change in ecological diversity, herd management strategies and foddering, health, energy and dung use, as well as the complexity of interactions between people and animals in this key region during the early Holocene.

Item Type:Article
Divisions:Science > School of Archaeology, Geography and Environmental Science > Department of Archaeology
ID Code:88370


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