An Idiosyncratic and Not Exhaustive Bibliography for Animal Dung and Archaeology

accumulated by Naomi F. Miller, University of Pennsylvania Museum

April 2022

While we tend to think of livestock mainly as a source of meat and milk, in practice they produce more dung than anything else. B. Sillar (2000:46).

As a quick-and-dirty reference to modern dairy cows, "The average dairy cow produces about 55 kg (120 pounds) of manure per day, and approximately 20 metric tons per year"; even if you cut that number in half, that's a lot of potential fuel from the family cow! ["HP Labs Designs Data Center Fueled by Manure," May 19, 2010] [Cow dung 'volatile solids' are about 60% of wet weight (Makki and Eljack 2003 ), so even "unimproved" varieties of cattle probably produce a lot dung.]

Check out this article that analyzes the influence of networks and communities of practice on the acceptance of new ideas: case study of dung fuel!

Khazraee, E. and S. Gasson
2015 Epistemic objects and embeddedness: Knowledge construction and narratives in research networks of practice. The Information Society: An International Journal 31 (2): 139-159.

For other dung news,

And now you can see the movie, "Yak Dung"! Here's the link: "With temperatures falling as low as -40°C on the plateau, yak dung is a valuable source of warmth for herdsmen. A non-polluting fuel, it is used to burn offerings to the gods and light oil lamps. Dung can be used to build houses and walls. It is the natural fertilizer of the grasslands, and it can be used as medicine and for washing clothes. Children can even make toys out of it, while artists sometimes sculpt figurines of the Buddha out of the material. The quality of the dung is an indicator of the environmental health of the plateau and the yaks that roam it. In short, for those of us who live on the plateau, dung is something we cannot live without. But the day we will have to live without it is getting nearer and nearer, and that day we will no longer be ourselves. Filmmaker Lanzhe is a Tibetan herdsman from Qinghai Province. This is his first documentary."

Source: Philadelphia Inquirer, December 24, 2010

Source: Philadelphia Inquirer, October 30, 2016

Keyword organization:
Country; Site; Archaeological relevance: e.g., fuel/fertilizer/feature; Focus if not archaeological; Animal
and thanks to Örni Akeret (OA) for providing a bunch of references

Most recent entries

July 2023

Jakobitsch, Thorsten, Cyril Dworsky, Andreas G. Heiss, Marlu Kühn, Sabine Rosner, and Jutta Leskovar
2023 How animal dung can help to reconstruct past forest use: A late Neolithic case study from the Mooswinkel pile dwelling (Austria). Archaeological and Anthropological Sciences 15(20).
Austria/macro/Mooswinkel pile dwelling

Valamoti, Soultana
2013 Towards a distinction between digested and undigested glume bases in the archaeobotanical record from Neolithic northern Greece: A preliminary experimental investigation. Journal of Environmental Archaeology 18: 31-42.
Greece/experimental archaeology

Entire listing

Adams, Karen R.
1984 Evidence of wood-dwelling termites in archaeological sites in the southwestern United States.
Journal of Ethnobiology 4(1): 29-43.
United States/archeobotany/insect

Akeret, Örni, Jean Nicolas Haas, Urs Leuzinger, and Stéfanie Jacomet
1999 Plant macrofossils and pollen in goat/sheep faeces from the Neolithic lake-shore settlement of Arbon Bleiche 3, Switzerland. The Holocene 9: 175-182.
Switzerland/Arbon Bleiche 3/fodder/sheep/goat/OA

Akeret, Örni and Stéfanie Jacomet
1997 Analysis of plant macrofossils in goat/sheep faeces from the Neolithic lake shore settlement of Horgen Scheller - an indication of prehistoric transhumance? Vegetation History and Archaeobotany 6: 235-239.
Switzerland/Horgen Scheller/sheep/goat

Akeret, Örni, and Philippe Rentzel
2001 Micromorphology and plant macrofossil analysis of cattle dung from the Neolithic lake shore settlement of Arbon Bleiche 3. Geoarchaeology 16: 687-700.
Switzerland/Arbon Bleiche 3/fodder/cattle

Albert, R.M. and D.O. Henry
2004 Herding and Agricultural Activities at the Early Neolithic Site of Ayn Abu Nukhayla (Wadi Rum, Jordan). The Results of Phytolith and Spherulite Analyses. Paléorient 30(2): 81-92.
Jordan/Ayn Abu Nukhayla/PPNB/spherulite/phytolith/

Albert, R.M., R. Shahack-Gross, D. Cabanes, A. Gilboa, S. Lev-Yadun, M. Portillo, I. Sharon, E. Boaretto, and S. Weiner
2008 Phytolith-rich layers from the Late Bronze and Iron ages at Tel Dor (Israel): mode of formation and archaeological significance. Journal of Archaeological Science 35: 57-75.
Israel/Tel Dor/2M/1M/phytolith

Anderson, Seona M.
1994/5 Faeces: an ethnographic and botanical study of dung fuel use in Central Anatolia [M.Sc.].University of Sheffield.

Anderson, Seona and Füsun Ertuğ-Yaraş
1998 Fuel fodder and faeces: an ethnographic and botanical study of dung fuel use in Central Anatolia. Environmental Archaeology 1: 99-109. [preview]

Argant, Jacqueline
1990 Climat et environnement au quaternaire dans le bassin du Rhôned'après les données palynologiques. Documents du Laboratoire de Géologie de Lyon 111.
France/Neolithic cave/pollen (ancient)/sheep/goat (pp. 132-140)/ experiments in modern sheep dung (pp. 32-47)/OA

Badenhorst, Shaw
2009 Phytoliths and livestock dung at Early Iron Age sites in southern Africa. South African Archaeological Bulletin 64: 45-50.
South Africa/Central Cattle Pattern/phytolith/animal pen/cattle/sheep/goat

Baeten, Jan, Florias Mees, Elena Marinova, Morgan De Dapper, Dirk De Vos Dirk Huyge, Mark Van Strydonck, Dimitri Vandenberghe, and Veerle Linseele
2018 Late Pleistocene coprolites from Qurta (Egypt) and the potential of interdisciplinary research involving micromorphology, plant macrofossil and biomarker analyses. Review of Palaeobotany and Palynology 259: 93-111.
Egypt/biomarker/macroremains/rock hyrax/spherulite/bovid

Berna, Francesco
2017 Geo-ethnoarchaeology study of the traditional Tswana dung floor from the Moffat Mission Church, Kuruman, North Cape Province, South Africa. Archaeological and Anthropological Sciences 9(6): 1115-1123.
South Africa/cattle/ethnoarchaeology

Birk, Jago Jonathan, Wenceslau Geraldes Teixeira, Eduardo Góes Neves, and Bruno Glaser
2011 Faeces deposition on Amazonian Anthrosols as assessed from 5Beta-stanols. Journal of Archaeological Science 38(6): 1209-1220. on-line
Amazon/Black Earth/biomolecule

Bogaard, Amy
2012 Middening and manuring in Neolithic Europe: Issues of plausibbility, intensity and archaeological method. In Manure Matters: Historical, Archaeological and Ethnographic Perspectives, pp. 25-39, ed. R. Jones. Ashgate, Aldershot.
Europe/stable isotope

Bogaard A., R. Fraser, T.H.E. Heaton, M. Wallace, P. Vaiglova, M. Charles, G. Jones, R.P. Evershed, A.K. Styring, N.H. Andersen, R.M. Arbogast, L. Bartosiewicz, A. Gardeisen, M. Kanstrup, U. Maier, E. Marinova, L. Ninov, M. Schäfer, and E. Stephan
2013 Crop manuring and intensive land management by Europe's first farmers. Proceedings of the National Academy of Science 110: 12589-12594.

Boschian, G. and E. Montagnari Kokelj
2000 Prehistoric shepherds and caves in the Trieste karst (northeastern Italy). Geoarchaeology 150(4): 331-371. [abstract].

Bottema, Sytze
1984 The composition of modern charred seed assemblages. In Plants and Ancient Man, eds. W. van Zeist and W.A. Casparie, pp. 207-212. A.A. Balkema, Rotterdam.

Bowdery, D.
2007 Phytolith analysis, sheep, diet and fecal material at Ambathala pastoral station (Queensland, Australia). In Plants, People and Places. Recent Studies in Phytolith Analysis, eds. M. Madella and D. Zurro, pp. 134-150. Oxbow Books.

Braadbaart, Freek, Imogen Poole, Hans D.J. Huisman, and Bertil van Os
2012 Fuel, Fire and Heat: an experimental approach to highlight the potential of studying ash and char remains from archaeological contexts. Journal of Archaeological Science 39(4): 836-847.

Brinkkemper, Otto
1991 Wetland farming in the area to the south of the Meuse estuary during the Iron Age and Roman Period. An environmental and palaeo-economic reconstruction. Analecta Praehistorica Leidensia 24. Leiden
Netherlands/macro/goat/sheep faeces (pp. 84/89, Table 24)/OA

Britton, Kate and Jacqui Huntley
2011 New evidence for the consumption of barley at Romano-British military and civilian sites, from the analysis of cereal bran fragments in faecal material. Vegetation History and Archaeobotany 20: 41-52. [doi:10.1007/s00334-010-0245-3]

Brochier, J.-E.
1983 Combustion et parcage des herbivores domestiques. Le point de vue du sédimentologue. Bulletin de la Société Préhistorique Française 80(5): 143-145.

Brochier J. É.
1991 Géoarchéologie du monde agropastoral. In Pour une archéologie agraire, ed. J. Guilaine, p. 303-322. A. Colin, Paris.

Brochier J. É.
1996 Feuilles ou fumiers? Observations sur rôle des poussières sphérolitiques dans l'interprétation des dépôtsarchéologiques holocènes. Anthropozoologica 24: 19-30.

Brochier J. É.
2002 Les sédiments anthropiques. Méthodes d'étude et Perspectives. In Géologie de la préhistoire: méthodes, techniques, applications, ed. C. Miskovsky, pp. 459-477. Geopré, Paris.

Brochier J. É.
2006 Des hommes et des bêtes: une approche naturaliste de l'histoire et des pratiques de l'élevage. In Populations néolithiques et environnements, ed. J. Guilaine, pp. 137-152. Collection des Hespérides, Errance, Paris.

Brochier, J.E., P. Villa, M. Giacomarra
1992 Shepherds and sediments: geo-ethnoarchaeology of pastoral sites. Journal of Anthropological Archaeology 11: 47-102. [doi:10.1016/0278-4165(92)90010-9 ]

Broderick, Lee G. and Michael Wallace
2014 Manure: Valued by farmers, undervalued by zooarchaeologists. In People with Animals: Perspectives and Studies in Ethnozooarchaeology, ed. L.G. Broderick, pp. 34-41. Oxbow Books Ltd., Oxford.

Buckland, P.C., K.J. Edwards, E. Panagiotakopulu, and J.E. Schofield
2009 Palaeoecological and historical evidence for manuring and irrigation at Gardar (Igaliku), Norse Eastern Settlement, Greenland. The Holocene 19: 105-116. [abstract]

Budka, J., C. Geiger, P. Heindl, V. Hinterhuber, and H. Reschreiter
2019 The question of fuel for cooking in ancient Egypt and Sudan. Experimental Archaeology 2019/1.
Egypt/Sudan/sheep/goat/cattle/horse/donkey/experimental archaeology

Bogaard, Amy
2012 Middening and manuring in Neolithic Europe: Issues of plausibbility, intensity and archaeological method. In Manure Matters: Historical, Archaeological and Ethnographic Perspectives, pp. 25-39, ed. R. Jones. Ashgate, Aldershot.
Europe/stable isotope

Bruno, Maria C. and C. A. Hastorf
2016 Gifts from the camelids: Archaeobotanical insights into camelid pastoralism through the study of dung. In The Archaeology of Andean Pastoralism, eds. J. Capriles and N. Tripcevich, pp. 55-65. University of New Mexico Press.

Bryant, Vaughn M. and Karl J. Reinhard
2012 Coprolites and Archaeology: The Missing Links in Understanding Human Health. In Vertebrate Coprolites, eds. A.P. Hunt, J. Milàn, S.G. Lucas, and J.A. Spielmann, pp. 379-387. New Mexico Museum of Natural History and Science, Albuquerque.

Buckland, P.I. and P.C. Buckland
2019 When a 'waterhole' is full of dung: an illustration of the importance of environmental evidence for refining archaeological interpretation of excavated features. Archaeometry 61: 977-990.
England/fertilizer/entomology/dung beetles

Bull, I.D., M.M. Elhmmali, V. Perret, W. Matthews, D.J. Roberts, and R.P. Evershed
2005 Biomarker evidence of faecal deposition in archaeological sediments at Çatalhöyük. InInhabiting Çatalhöyük: Reports from the 1995-99 Seasons, ed. I. Hodder, pp. 415-420. McDonald Institute Monographs, Cambridge. [ref in Shahack-Gross 2011]

Bull, Ian and Richard Evershed
2012 Organic geochemical signatures of ancient manure use. In Manure Matters: Historical, Archaeological and Ethnographic Perspectives, pp. 61-77, ed. R. Jones. Ashgate, Aldershot.

Bull, I.D, I.A. Simpson, P.F. van Bergen, and R.P. Evershed
1999 Muck 'n' molecules: organic geochemical methods for detecting ancient manuring. Antiquity 73: 86-96. [ref in Shahack-Gross 2011]

Buurman, Janneke
1998/1999 Archaeobotanical investigations of a Middle and Late Bronze Age settlement site at Westwoud (West-Friesland). Berichten van de Rijksdienst voor het Oudheidkundig Bodemonderzoek 43: 99-140. (esp. pp. 128-131)

Canti, M.G.
1997 An investigation of microscopic calcareous spherulites from herbivore dungs. Journal of Archaeological Science 24: 219-231. [doi:10.1006/jasc.1996.0105]

Canti, M.G.
1998 The micromorphological identification of faecal spherulites from archaeological and modern materials. Journal of Archaeological Science 25(5): 435-444. [doi:10.1006/jasc.1997.0210] [ref in Shahack-Gross 2011]

Canti, M.G.
1999 The production and preservation of faecal spherulites: animals, environment and taphonomy, Journal of Archaeological Science 26(3): 251-258. [doi:10.1006/jasc.1996.0105] [ref in Shahack-Gross 2011]

Carrion, Jose S., Louis Scott, Tom Huffman, and Cobus Dreyer
2000 Pollen analysis of Iron Age cow dung in southern Africa. Vegetation History and Archaeobotany 9: 239-249.
South Africa/fuel/pollen/cow

Charles, Michael
1998 Fodder from dung: the recognition and interpretation of dung-derived plant material from archaeological sites. Environmental Archaeology 1: 111-122.

Charles, M. and A. Bogaard
2005 Identifying livestock diet from charred plant remains: a Neolithic case study from Southern Turkmenistan. In Diet and Health in Past Animal Populations, eds. J. Davies, M. Fabis, et al., pp. 93-103. 9th ICAZ Conference, Durham 2002. Oxbow Books, Oxford.

2011 Agro-pastoralism and social change in the Cuzco heartland of Peru: a brief history using environmental proxies. Antiquity 85: 570-582.
Peru/2M/1M/AD/pollen/oribatid mites/llama

Chepstow-Lusty, A., M.R. Frogley, B.S. Bauer, M.J. Leng, A. Cundy, K.P. Boessenkool, and A. Gioda
2007 Evaluating socio-economic change in the Andes using oribatid mite abundances as indicators of domestic animal densities. Journal of Archaeological Science 34: 1178-86. [doi:10.1016/j.jas.2006.12.023]
Peru/oribatid mites

Conte, Thomas
2017 Living with Mongolian Nomads: Spring Cleaning.

Courty, M. A., R. I. Macphail, and J. Wattez
1991 Soil micromorphological indicators of pastoralism; with special reference to Arene Candide, Finale Ligure, Italy. Rivista di Studi Liguri 57: 127-150.
Italy/Arene Candide/Neolithic cave/micromorphology/cattle/sheep-goat/OA

Crawford, Patricia
2003 Weeds as indicators of land-use strategies in Ancient Egypt. In Food, Fuel and Fields. Progress in African Archaeobotany, eds. K. Newmann, A. Butler, and S. Kahleber, pp. 107-121. Heinrich Barth Institut, KÖln.

Cullen, Paul and Richard Jones
2012 Manure and middens in English place-names. In Manure Matters: Historical, Archaeological and Ethnographic Perspectives, pp. 97-108, ed. R. Jones. Ashgate, Aldershot.
United Kingdom/etymology

Darmon, F.
1989 Étude de l'environnement de la Grotte de Nahal Hemar dans le désert de Judée au Néolithique ancien d'après l'analyse des coprolithes de chèvres, Comptes Rendus de l'Académie des Sci. 308 (1989), pp. 1759-1764. [ref in Shahack-Gross 2011]
Israel/Nahal Hemar/Neolithic/goat

Davies, Caleb
2019 Neolithic remains help sniff out the earliest human use of dung. Horizon, 13 Aug 2019.

Deckers, Katleen
2011 The dung as fuel model tested at two Syrian Jezirah sites. In Holocene Landscapes through Time in the Fertile Crescent, ed. K. Deckers. Subartu XXVII: 143-156.

Delhon, C., L. Martin, J. Argant, et al.
2008 Shepherds and plants in the Alps: multi-proxy archaeobotanical analysis of Neolithic dung from "La Grande Rivoire" (Isère, France). Journal of Archaeological Science 35: 2937-2952.

Derreumaux, Marie
2005 How to detect fodder and litter? A case study from the Roman site "Le Marais de Dourges," France. Vegetation History and Archaeobotany 14: 373-385. [doi:10.1007/s00334-005-0003-0]

di Lernia, Savino
2001 Dismantling dung: delayed use of food resources among Early Holocene foragers of the Libyan Sahara. Journal of Anthropological Archaeology 20: 408-441. [doi:10.1006/jaar.2000.0384]
Libya/Uan Afuda Cave/droppings/micromorphology/macro/pollen/fodder

Djamali, Morteza, Fereidoun Biglari, Kamyar Abdi, Valérie Andrieu-Ponel, Jacques-Louis de Beaulieu, Marjan Mashkour, and Philippe Ponel
2011 Pollen analysis of coprolites from a late Pleistocene-Holocene cave deposit (Wezmeh Cave, west Iran): insights into the late Pleistocene and late Holocene vegetation and flora of the central Zagros Mountains. Journal of Archaeological Science 38: 3394-3401. doi:10.1016/j.jas.2011.08.001
Iran/Wezmeh Cave/pollen/hyena

Drescher-Schneider, Ruth
1997+ Ergebnisse der pollen- und grossrestanalytischen Untersuchungen im Gebiet der Plankenalm, Dachstein (Osterreich). In Vier Jahrtausende Almen im Hochgebirge, Band 2, eds. G. Cerwinka, and F. Mandl, pp. 46-61. Haus i. E.: Verein ANISA.
Austria/post AD 1300/pollen/macro/cattle/sheep/goats/pigs)/OA

Dunseth, Zachary C., Israel Finkelstein, and Ruth Shahack-Gross
2018 Intermediate Bronze Age subsistence practices in the Negev Highlands, Israel: Macro- and microarchaeological results from the sites of Ein Ziq and Nahal Boqer 66. Journal of Archaeological Science: Reports 19: 712-726 . Also online at
Israel/spherulite/ phytolith/ stabling

Dunseth, Zachary C., Fuks, Daniel, Dafna Langgut, Ehud Weiss, Yoel Melamed, Don H. Butler, Xin Yan, Elisabetta Boaretto, Yotam Tepper, Guy Bar-Oz, and Ruth Shahack-Gross
2019 Archaeobotanical proxies and archaeological interpretation: A comparative study of phytoliths, pollen and seeds in dung pellets and refuse deposits at Early Islamic Shivta, Negev, Israel. Quaternary Science Reviews 211: 166-185.

Dunseth, Zachary C. and Ruth Shahack-Gross
2018 Calcitic dung spherulites and the potential for rapid identification of degraded animal dung at archaeological sites using FTIR spectroscopy. Journal of Archaeological Science 97: 118-124.
Nahal Boqer 66/sediment analysis

Éguüez, N., A. Zerboni, and S. Biagetti
2018 Microstratigraphic analysis on a modern central Saharan pastoral campsite. Ovicaprine pellets and stabling floors as ethnographic and archaeological referential data. Quaternary International 483: 180-193.

Ejarque, Ana, Yannick Miras, and Santiago Riera
2011 Pollen and non-pollen palynomorph indicators of vegetation and highland grazing activities obtained from modern surface and dung datasets in the eastern Pyrenees. Review of Palaeobotany and Palynology 167: 123-139.

Elliott, S. Robin Bendrey, J. Whitlam, and Kamal Rauf Aziz
2020 Ethnoarchaeological research in Bestansur: Insights into vegetation, land-use, animals and animal dung. In the Early Neolithic of the Eastern Fertile Crescent: Excavations at Bestansur and Shimshara, Iraqi Kurdistan. Central Zagros Archaeological Project, CZAP Reports 2, eds. R. Matthews, W. Matthews, K.R. Raheem and A. Richardson, pp. 91-106. Oxbow Books, Oxford.

Elliott, Sarah, Robin Bendrey, Jade Whitlam, Kamal Rauf Aziz, Jane Evans
2015 Preliminary ethnoarchaeological research on modern animal husbandry in Bestansur, Iraqi Kurdistan: Integrating animal, plant and environmental data. Environmental Archaeology 20:283-303.

Evershed R.P., P.H. Bethell, P.J. Reynolds, and N.J. Walsh
1997 5β- Stigmastanol and related 5β-stanols as biomarkers of manuring: analysis of modern experimental material and assessment of the archaeological potential. Journal of Archaeological Science 24:485-495.
England/experimental arch

Fall, Patricia L., Steven E. Falconer, and JoAnna Klinge
2015 Bronze age fuel use and its implications for agrarian landscapes in the eastern Mediterranean. Journal of Archaeological Science: Reports 4: 182-191.

Fenton, Alexander
1985 A fuel of necessity: animal manure. In The Shape of the Past. Essays in Scottish Ethnology, pp. 96-111. John Donald, Edinburgh.

Fiedel, Stuart
2016 The spore conundrum: Does a dung fungus decline signal humans' arrival in the eastern United States. Quaternary International.
United States/megafauna/birds/small mammals/fungal spores

Forbes, Hamish
2012 Lost souls: ethnographic observations on manuring practices in a Mediterranean community. In Manure Matters: Historical, Archaeological and Ethnographic Perspectives, pp. 159-172, ed. R. Jones. Ashgate, Aldershot.

Fuks, D. and Z.C. Dunseth
2021 Dung in the dumps: what we can learn from multi-proxy studies of archaeological dung pellets. Vegetation History and Archaeobotany 30:137-153.

García Suárez, Aroa, Marta Portillo, and Wendy Matthews
2018 Early animal management strategies during the Neolithic of the Konya Plain, Central Anatolia: Integrating micromorphological and microfossil evidence. Environmental Archaeology. DOI: 10.1080/14614103.2018.1497831

Goethals, L. and D. Verschuren
2020 Tracing ancient animal husbandry in tropical Africa using the fossil spore assemblages of coprophilous fungi: a validation study in western Uganda. Vegetation History and Archaeobotany 29: 509-526.
Uganda/fungal spores

Goren, Y.
1999 On determining use of pastoral cave sites: a critical assessment of spherulites in archaeology. Journal of the Israel Prehistoric Society 29: 123-128. [ref in Shahack-Gross 2011]

Greig, J.
1984 Garderobes, sewers, cesspits and latrines. Current Archaeology 85: 49-52. [ref in Shahack-Gross 2011]

Guelat, Michel, Olivier Paccolat and Philippe Rentzel
1998 Une étable gallo-romaine à Brigue-Glis VS/Waldmatte. Évidences archéologiques et micromorphologiques. Annuaire de la Société Suisse de Préhistoire et d'Archéologie 81: 171-182.
Switzerland/Iron Age/Roman/micromorphology/cattle/sheep-goat/OA

Gur-Arieh, Shira, Marco Madella, Carla Lanceolotti, Christopher Miller, Susan M. Mentzer, Bill Finlayson, Cheryl Makarewicz, Sarah Elliottt, Jacob Vardi
n.d. MapDung. Dung as construction material during the emergence of animal domestication: a multi-proxy approach.

Gur-Arieh, Shira, Marco Madella, Noa Lavi, and David E. Griesem
2018 Potentials and limitations for the identification of outdoor dung plasters in humid tropical environment: a geo-ethnoarchaeological case study from South India. Archaeological and Anthropological Sciences .

Gur-Arieh, Shira, Eugenia Mintz, Elisabetta Boaretto, and Ruth Shahack-Gross
2013 An ethnoarchaeological study of cooking installations in rural Uzbekistan: development of a new method for identification of fuel sources. Journal of Archaeological Science 40 (12): 4331-4347. DOI:
ethnoarchaeology/fuel/ash pseudomorphs/spherulites/phytoliths/PSR

Gur-Arieh, Shira, Ruth Shahack-Gross, Aren M. Maeir, Gunnar Lehmann, Louise A. Hitchcock, and Elisabetta Boaretto
2014 The taphonomy and preservation of wood and dung ashes found in archaeological cooking installations: Case studies from Iron Age Israel. Journal of Archaeological Science
Israel/fuel/ash pseudomorphs/spherulites/phytoliths/PSR

Haas, J.N.
2004 Mikroskopische Analyse von Schaf-Ziegenkoprolithen. In Die jungsteinzeitliche Seeufersidlung Arbon Bleiche 3. Umwelt und Wirtschaft, eds. S. Jacomet, U. Leuzinger, and J. Schibler, pp. 43-49. Archäologie in Thurgau 12. Frauenfeld, Kanton Thurgau.
Switzerland/Arbon Bleiche 3

Hadorn, Philippe
1994 Saint-Blaise/Bains des Dames, 1. Palynologie d'un site néolithique et historique de la végétation des derniers 16,000 ans. Archéologie neuchateloise 18. Musée Cantonal d'Archéologie, Neuchâtel.
Switzerland/pollen/sheep-goat (p. 55-57)/OA

Hald, Mette Marie, Jacob Mosekilde, Betina Magnussen, Martin Jensen Søe, Camilla Haarby Hansen, Morten Fischer Mortensen
2018 Tales from the barrels: Results from a multi-proxy analysis of a latrine from Renaissance Copenhagen, Denmark. Journal of Archaeological Science Reports 20: 602-610.

Hall, A. and H. Kenward
1998 Disentangling dung: pathways to stable manure. Environmental Archaeology 1: 123-126.

Hall A.R., A.K.G. Jones, and H.K. Kenward
1983 Cereal bran and human faecal remains from archaeological deposits-some preliminary observations. In Site, Environment and Economy, ed. B. Proudfoot, pp. 85-105. British Archaeological Reports, International Series 173. Oxford.
United Kingdom/cess/human

Halligan, Jessi J., Michael R. Waters, Angelina Perrotti, Ivy J. Owens, Joshua M. Feinberg, Mark D. Bourne, Brendan Fenerty, Barbara Winsborough, David Carlson, Daniel C. Fisher, Thomas W. Stafford Jr and James S. Dunbar
2016 Pre-Clovis occupation 14,550 years ago at the Page-Ladson site, Florida, and the peopling of the Americas. Science Advances 13 May 2016: Vol. 2, no. 5, e1600375. DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.1600375

Hamilakis, Yannis, Georgia Koromila, Kerry Harris, Nina Kyparissi, Georgia Kotzamani, and Panagiotis Karkanas
The Neolithic tell as a multi-species monument: Human, animal, and plant relationships through a micro-contextual study of animal dung remains at Koutroulou Magoula, central Greece. Journal of Archaeological Science 19: 753-768.

Harrison, Terry
2011 Coprolites: taphonomic and paleoecological implications. In Paleontology and Geology of Laetoli: Human Evolution in Context, ed. T. Harrison, pp. 279-292. Springer Science +Business Media. DOI 10.1007/978-90-481-9956-3_14
Tanzania/bovid scat/carnivore scat

Hastorf, Christine A. and Melanie F. Wright
1998 Interpreting wild seeds from archaeological sites: a dung charring experiment from the Andes. Journal of Ethnobiology 18: 211-227.
Bolivia/Peru/Argentina/experimental archaeology/camelid/goat/guinea pig

Hellwig, Maren
1997 Plant remains from two cesspits (15th and 16th Century) and a pond (13th Century) from Gottingen, southern Lower Saxony, Germany. Vegetation History and Archaeobotany 6: 105-116.
Germany/pollen in 1 sheep-goat dropping/OA

Hillman, G.C., A.J. Legge, and P.A. Rowley-Conwy
1997 On the charred seeds from Epipaleolithic Abu Hureyra: food or fuel? Current Anthropology 38: 651-655. (reply to Miller, CA 1996).
Syria/Abu Hureyra/fuel-not

Huffman, T.N., M. Elburg, and M. Watkeys
2013 Vitrified cattle dung in the Iron Age of southern Africa. Journal of Archaeological Science 40(10): 3553-3560.
South Africa/ethnoarchaeology/cattle

Hunt, Adrian P., Jesper Milàn, Spencer G. Lucas, and Justin A. Spielmann,eds.
2012 Vertebrate Coprolites. New Mexico Museum of Natural History and Science, Albuquerque.
paleontology, mostly/history

Jakobitsch, Thorsten, Cyril Dworsky, Andreas G. Heiss, Marlu Kühn, Sabine Rosner, and Jutta Leskovar
2023 How animal dung can help to reconstruct past forest use: A late Neolithic case study from the Mooswinkel pile dwelling (Austria). Archaeological and Anthropological Sciences 15(20).
Austria/macro/Mooswinkel pile dwelling

James, L. H.
1928 An observed case of "spontaneus" ignition in stable manure. Journal of Agricultural Research 36(5): 481-485.

Johansen, P.G.
2004 Landscape, monumental architecture, and ritual: a reconsideration of the South Indian ashmounds. Journal of Anthropological Archaeology 23: 309-330. [doi:10.1016/j.jaa.2004.05.003] [ref in Shahack-Gross 2011]

Jones, G.E.M.
1998 Distinguishing food from fodder in the archaeobotanical record. Environmental Archaeology 1:95-99.

Jones, John G. and Duccio Bonavia
1992 Analysis de coprolitos de llama (Lama glama) de precermico tardio de la costa nor central del Peru. Bulletin de l'Institut Français des Études Andines 21(3): 835-852.

Jones, Richard (editor)
2012 Manure Matters: Historical, Archaeological and Ethnographic Perspectives. Ashgate, Aldershot.
Europe/United Kingdom/archaeology/ethnoarchaeology

Jones, Richard
2012 Why manure matters. In Manure Matters: Historical, Archaeological and Ethnographic Perspectives, pp. 1-11, ed. R. Jones. Ashgate, Aldershot.

Jones, Richard
2012 Understanding medieval manure. In Manure Matters: Historical, Archaeological and Ethnographic Perspectives, pp. 145-158, ed. R. Jones. Ashgate, Aldershot.
United Kingdom/ethnohistory

Jorgensen, Grethe
1986 Medieval plant remains from the settlement in Mollergade 6. In Analyses of Medieval Plant Remains, Textiles and Wood from Svendborg. The Archaeology of Svendborg, Denmark 4, ed. H. M. Jansen, pp. 45-84. Odense University Press, Odense.
Denmark/cattle? (p. 75-77)/OA

Kadowaki, Seiji, Lisa Maher, Marta Portillo, Rosa M. Albert, Chie Akashi, Farhad Guliyev, and Yoshihiro Nishiaki
2015 Geoarchaeological and palaeobotanical evidence for prehistoric cereal storage in the southern Caucasus: the Neolithic settlement of Göytepe (mid 8th millennium BP). Journal of Archaeological Science 53: 408-435.

Kanstrup, Marie, Mads K. Holst, Peter M. Jensen, Ingrid K. Thomsen, and Bent T. Christensen
2013 (on line) Searching for long-term trends in prehistoric manuring practice. δ15N analyses of charred cereal grains from the 4th to the 1st millennium BC. Journal of Archaeological Science . [available online April 29, 2013]
Denmark/nitrogen isotopes/wheat/barley

Karg, Sabine
1998 Winter- and spring-foddering of sheep/goat in the Bronze Age Site of Fiave-Carera, Northern Italy. Environmental Archaeology 1: 87-94.

Katz, O., I. Gilead, P. Bar (Kutiel) and R. Shahack-Gross
2007 Chalcolithic agricultural life at Grar, northern Negev, Israel: dry farmed cereals and dung-fueled fires. Paléorient 33.2:101-116.

Kenward, H.K. and A.R. Hall
2012 Dung and stable manure on waterlogged archaeological occupation sites: some ruminations on the evidence from plant and invertebrate remains. In Manure Matters: Historical, Archaeological and Ethnographic Perspectives, pp. 79-95, ed. R. Jones. Ashgate, Aldershot.
United Kingdom/York/stable litter/insects

Kenward, Harry and Allan Hall
1997 Enhancing bioarchaeological interpretation using indicator groups: stable manure as a paradigm. Journal of Archaeological Science 24: 663-673. [doi:10.1006/jasc.1996.0149]

Khazraee, E. and S. Gasson
2015 Epistemic objects and embeddedness: Knowledge construction and narratives in research networks of practice. The Information Society: An International Journal 31 (2): 139-159.
dung fuel in archaeobotany/epistemology/history of archaeobotany

Klee, Marlies and Lucia Wick
2007 Archäobotanische Untersuchungen: Koproliten und Mist. In Vicus Petinesca-Vorderberg, die Ziehbrunnen. Petinesca 4: 117-130.. Archäologischen Dienst des Kantons Bern.

Kookuy (Saikal Zhumalieva)
2017 Incendiary Dance of the Kelinka. [Stayin' Alive]

Koromila, Georgia, Panagiotis Karkanas, Yannis Hamilakis, Nina Kyparissi-Apostolika, Georgia Kotzamani, Kerry Harris
2018 The Neolithic tell as a multi-species monument: Human, animal, and plant relationships through a micro-contextual study of animal dung remains at Koutroulou Magoula, central Greece. Journal of Archaeological Science: Reports 19: 753-768.
Greece/Koutroulou Magoula/taphonomy/phytolith/spherulite/macroremains

Körber-Grohne, Udelgard
1982 Der Schacht in Fellbach-Schmiden aus botanischer und stratigraphischer Sicht. In Eine neuentdeckte keltische Viereckschanze in Fellbach-Schmiden, Rems-Murr-Kreis, ed. D. Planck, pp. 154-168. Germania 60.
Germany/Iron Age/pollen/macro/sheep-goat/OA

Kühn, M. and P. Hadorn
2004 Pflanzliche Makro- und Mikroresten aus Dung von Weidekäuem. In Die jungsteinzeitliche Seeufersidlung Arbon Bleiche 3. Umwelt und Wirtschaft, eds. S. Jacomet, U. Leuzinger, and J. Schibler, pp. 327-350. Archäologie in Thurgau 12. Frauenfeld, Kanton Thurgau.
Switzerland/Arbon Bleiche 3

Kühn, Marlu, Ursula Maier, Christoph Herbig, Kristin Ismail-Meyer, Matthieu Le Bailly, and Lucia Wick
2013 Methods for the examination of cattle, sheep and goat dung in prehistoric wetland settlements with examples of the sites Alleshausen-Täschenwiesen and Alleshausen-Grundwiesen (around cal 2900 BC) at Lake Federsee, south-west Germany. Environmental Archaeology 18:43-57.
Germany/L. Federsee/cattle/sheep/goat

Kühn, M. and L. Wick
2010 Pflanzenreste in Koprolithen von Schafen und Ziegen: was fressen die kleinen Wiederkäuer von Pfäffikon-Burg? [Plant remains in coprolites of sheep and goats; what did the small ruminants of Pfäffikon-Burg eat?]. In Die horgenzeitliche Siedlung Pfäffikon-Burg, ed. U. Eberli, pp. 256-261. Monographien der Kantonsarchäologie Zürich 40, Zürich.

Kuzmicheva, E.A., H. Debella, B. Khasanov, O. Krylovich, A. Babenko, A. Savinetsky, E. Severova, and S. Yirga
2013 Holocene hyrax dung deposits in the afroalpine belt of the Bale Mountains (Ethiopia) and their palaeoclimatic implication. Environmental Archaeology 18:72-81.

2013 Yak Dung. Through Their Eyes.

Lancelotti, Carla and Marco Madella
2012 The 'invisible' product: developing markers for identifying dung in archaeological contexts. Journal of Archaeological Science 39(4): 953-963.

Landsberg, J., J. Stol, and W. Müller
1994 Telling the sheep (dung) from the goats'. Rangeland Journal 16: 122-134. [abstract only]
sheep and goat pellet differentiation

Laugier, Elise Jakoby, Jesse Casana, and Dan Cabanes
2022 Phytolith evidence for the pastoral origins of multi-cropping in Mesopotamia (ancient Iraq). Nature Scientific Reports 12:60.
Iraq/Khan Masi/phytolith

Linseele, V., E. Marinova, W. Van Neer, and P. Vermeersch
2010 Sites with Holocene dung deposits in the Eastern Desert of Egypt: visited by herders? Journal of Arid Environments 74: 818-828. [doi:10.1016/j.jaridenv.2009.04.014]
Egypt/Sodmein/Tree Shelter/Neolithic/7m/sheep/goat/ibex

Linseele, Veerle, Heiko Riemer, Jan Baeten, Dirk De Vos, Elena Marinova, and Claudio Ottoni
2013 Species identification of archaeological dung remains: A critical review of potential methods. Environmental Archaeology 18:5-17.

Madella, Marco
2003 Investigating agriculture and environment in South Asia: present and future contributions from opal phytoliths. In Indus Ethnobiology, eds. S.A. Weber and W.R. Belcher, pp. 199-249. Lexington Books, Lanham, Maryland.

Mahaney, W.C., C.C.R. Allen, P. Pentlavalli, A. Kulakova, J. M. Young, R.W. Dirszowsky, A. West, B. Kelleher, S. Jordan, C. Pulleyblank, S. O'Reilly, B. T. Murphy, K. Lasberg, P. Somelar, M. Garneau, S.A. Finkelstein, M. K. Sobol, V. Kalm, P.J.M. Costa, R.G.V. Hancock, K.M. Hart, P. Tricart, R.W. Barendregt, T.E. Bunch and M. W. Milner
2016 Biostratigraphic evidence relating to the age-old question of Hannibal's invasion of Italy, I: History and geological reconstruction. Archaeometry, doi: 10.1111/arcm.12231. For blog post by Chris Allen, "How ancient horse-dung bacteria is helping our team locate where Hannibal crossed the Alps," see The Conversation online.
France/Punic/horse/microbial genetic analysis

Marinova, Elena, Veerle Linseele, and Marlu Kühn
2013 Bioarchaeological research on animal dung - possibilities and limitations. Environmental Archaeology 18:1-3.

Marinova, Elena, Philippa Ryan, Wim Van Neer, and Renée Friedman
2013 Animal dung from arid environments and archaeobotanical methodologies for its analysis: An example from animal burials of the Predynastic elite cemetery HK6 at Hierakonpolis, Egypt. Environmental Archaeology 18:58-71.

Matin, Mehran and Moujan Matin
2016 Egyptian faience glazing by the cementation method part 2: cattle dung ash as a possible source of alkali flux. Archaeological and Anthropological Sciences 2016: 125-134.

Matthews, Wendy
1999 Micromorphology Archive Report. Çatal Höyük 1999 Archive Report. See especially sections 4.2, 4.3.4, 4.4, (online)
Turkey/Çatalhöyük/stable litter/fuel

Matthews, Wendy
2010 Geoarchaeology and taphonomy of plant remains and microarchaeological residues in early urban environments in the Ancient Near East. Quaternary International 214:98-113. [doi:10.1016/j.quaint.2009.10.019]
West Asia/micromorphology

Matthews, W., C.A.I. French, T. Lawrence, D.F. Cutler, and M.K. Jones
2001 Microstratigraphic analysis of depositional sequences in Areas FS and SS. In Excavations at Tell Brak, vol. 2: Nagar in the Third Millennium BC, by D. Oates, J. Oates, and H. McDonald, pp. 353-367 (especially 363-365). McDonald Institute Monograph, Cambridge.
Syria/Tell Brak/feature/soil micromorphology/spherule

Mbae, N.B.
1990 The ethnoarchaeology of Maasai settlements and refuse disposal patterns in the Lemek area. In Early Pastoralists of Southwestern Kenya, ed. P. Robertshaw, pp. 279-292. British Institute in Eastern Africa Memoir, Nairobi.

Mlekuz, Dimitrij
2009 The materiality of dung: the manipulation of dung in Neolithic Mediterranean caves. Documenta Praehistorica 36: 219-225. Available online

Miller, Naomi F.
1982 Economy and Environment of Malyan, A Third Millennium City in Southern Iran. Ph.D. Dissertation, Anthropology, The University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. [on-line through DeepBlue]

Miller, Naomi F.
1984 The use of dung as fuel: an ethnographic example and an archaeological application. Paléorient 10(2): 71-79.

Miller, Naomi F.
1984 The interpretation of some carbonized cereal remains as remnants of dung cake fuel. Bulletin on Sumerian Agriculture 1: 45-47

Miller, Naomi F.
1996 Seed-Eaters of the ancient Near East: human or herbivore? Current Anthropology 37: 521-528. (also reply to Hillman et al., CA 38: 655-659)
Iran/Syria/Ali Kosh/Abu Hureyra/fuel

Miller, Naomi F. and Tristine Lee Smart
1984 Intentional burning of dung as fuel: a mechanism for the incorporation of charred seeds into the archeological record. Journal of Ethnobiology 4: 15-28.
Iran/Malyan/U.S./Black Mesa/ethnoarch/bison

Moore, J.G., B.K. Krotoszynski, and H.J. O'Neill
1984 Fecal odorgrams. A method for partial reconstruction of ancient and modern diets. Digestive Diseases and Sciences n.s. 29(10): 907-911.

Moore, K.
2016 Early Domesticated camelids in the Andes. In The Archaeology of Andean Pastoralism, eds. J. Capriles and N. Tripcevich, pp. 17-38. University of New Mexico Press.

Morandi, Lionello F.
2018 An ethnoarchaeological case study of dung fungal spore and faecal spherulite taphonomy in a pastoral cave deposit. Environmental Archaeology.
Italy/ethnoarch/spherulite/fungal spore

Mouissie, A.M., P. Vos, H.M.C. Verhagen, and J.P. Bakker
2005 Endozoochory by free-ranging, large herbivores: ecological correlates and perspectives for restoration. Basic and Applied Ecology 6:547-558. [doi:10.1016/j.baae.2005.03.004]
Seed dispersal/cow/sheep/pony

Neef, R. and S. Bottema
1991 Mest als bron voor verkoold plantaardig materiaal uit opgravingen in het Nabije Oosten. Waarnemingen en Experimenten. Paleo-Aktueel 2: 72-76.
Near East/fuel/experimental arch

Nezamabadi, E., A. Aali, Th. Stöllner, M. Mashkour, and M. Le Bailly
2013 Paleoparasitological analysis of samples from the Chehrabad salt mine (Northwestern Iran). International Journal of Paleopathology 3: 229-233.

Nielsen, B., Overgaard, V. Mahler, and P. Rasmussen
2000 An Arthropod Assemblage and the Ecological Conditions in a Byre at the Neolithic Settlement of Weier, Switzerland. Journal of Archaeological Science 27: 209-218. [doi:10.1006/jasc.1999.0448]

Nielsen, N.H. and S.M. Kristiansen
2014 Identifying ancient manuring: traditional phosphate vs. multi-element analysis of archaeological soil. Journal of Archaeological Science 42:390-398.
Denmark/manure/Celtic fields/phosphate

Ntinou, Maria and Georgia Tsartsidou
2017 Domestic and ritual use of plants and fuels in the neolithic cave of Alepotrypa, southern Peloponnese, Greece: The wood charcoal and phytolith evidence. Quaternary International 457: 211-227.

Panadès i Blas, Xavier, Jordi Bartolomé i Filella, Caroline Strömberg, IgnasiSoriano i Tomàs, Paul Buckland, Karen K. Serieyssol, Joan Bach i Plaza, Antonio Arillo Aranda, Francesca Lozar, Tony Stevenson, Lourdes Chamorro i Lorenzo, and Peter Ditchfield
2016 The utility of livestock dung for reconstructing recent ethnological and environmental histories. Environmental Archaeology, doi: 10.1080/14614103.2016.1142630
Spain/ethnoarchaeology/multiproxy approach/sheep/goat

Pawlikowski, Maciej
1992 Mineralogical description of a coprolite from Uan Muhaggiag Rock Shelter, SW Libya. Origini 16: 153-156.
Libya/Uan Muhaggiag/cattle

Pears, Ben
2012 The formation of anthropogenic soils across three marginal landscapes on Fair Isle and in the Netherlands and Ireland In Manure Matters: Historical, Archaeological and Ethnographic Perspectives, pp. 109-127, ed. R. Jones. Ashgate, Aldershot.
United Kingdom/The Netherlands/Ireland

Pelling, Ruth
2000 The charred and mineralised plant remains. In A Bronze Age Ditch and Iron Age Settlement at Elms Farm, Humberstore, Leicester, by B.M. Charles et al. Transactions of Leicestershire Archaeological and Historical Society 74: 207-213.

Pemberton, S. George
2010 History of Ichnology: The Reverend William Buckland (1784-1856) and the Fugitive Poets. Ichnos 17:246-263.

Pemberton, S. George
2012 William Buckland (1784-1856) and Henry De la Beche (1796-1855): the Early History of Coprolites. In Vertebrate Coprolites, eds. A.P. Hunt, J. Milàn, S.G. Lucas, and J.A. Spielmann, pp. 29-43. New Mexico Museum of Natural History and Science, Albuquerque.

Pemberton, S. George and Robert W. Frey
1991 William Buckland and his coprolitic vision. Ichnos 1: 317-325.

Peña-Chocarro,Leonor, Guillem Pérez Jordà, Jacob Morales Mateos, and Lydia Zapata
2015 Storage in traditional farming communities of the western Mediterranean: Ethnographic, historical and archaeological data.
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Morocco/ethnoarchaeology/section on storage containers made of dung!

Peña, L.P., L. Peña-Chocarro, J.J.I. Estévez, J.E.G. Urquijo
2003 Ethnoarchaeology in the Moroccan Jebala (Western Rif): Wood and dung as fuel. In Food, Fuel and Fields, Progress in African archaeobotany, eds. K. Neumann, A. Butler, and S. Kahlheber, pp. 163-175. Africa Praehistorica 15. Heinrich-Barth-Institut, Köln.

Perkins, Sid
2003 A human migration fueled by dung? Science News Online 164(6): 94, week of Aug. 9, 2003 [Siberians follow dung across Beringia]

Peter, Bafentse
1999? Vitrified dung in archaeological contexts: an experimental study on the process of its formation in the Mosu and Bobirwa areas. Botswana Journal of African Studies 15: 125-143. Pula. Available online
Botswana/dung deposit/sheep

Ponel, Philippe, Valérie Andrieu-Ponel, Morteza Djamali, Hamid Lahijani, Michelle Leydet, and Marjan Mashkour
2013 Fossil beetles as possible evidence for transhumance during the middle and late Holocene in the high mountains of Talysch (Talesh) in NW Iran. Journal of Environmental Archaeology 18: 201-210.
Iran/pastoralism/dung beetles

Portillo, Marta
2012 Domestic patterns in the Numidian site of Althiburos (northern Tunisia): The results from a combined study of animal bones, dung and plant remains. Quaternary International 275: 84-96.
Tunisia/Althiburos/1M BC/fuel

Portillo, Marta and Rosa M. Albert
2011 Husbandry practices and livestock dung at the Numidian site of Althiburos (el Médéina, Kef Governorate, northern Tunisia): the phytolith and spherulite evidence. Journal of Archaeological Science 38: 3224-3233. doi:10.1016/j.jas.2011.06.027

Portillo, Marta and Rosa M. Albert
2014 Early crop cultivation and caprine herding: the evidence from phytolith and fecal spherulite studies. In The Sands of Time. The Desert Neolithic Settlement of Ayn Abu Nukhayla, eds. D.O. Henry and J. E. Beaver, pp. 121-137. Bibliotheca Neolithica Asiae Meridionalis et Occidentalis. ex Oriente, Berlin.
Jordan/Ayn Abu Nukhayla/Neolithic/spherulite/fodder

Portillo Marta, Rosa M. Albert, and Donald O. Henry
2009 Domestic activities and spatial distribution in Ain Abū Nukhayla (Wadi Rum, southern Jordan): the use of phytoliths and spherulites studies. Quaternary International 193:174-183.

Portillo, Marta, Rosa M. Albert, Seiji Kadowaki, and Yoshihiro Nishiaki
2010 Domestic activities at Early Neolithic Tell Seker al-Aheimar (Upper Khabur, Northeastern Syria) through phytoliths and spherulites studies. In Des hommes et des plantes. Exploitation du milieu et gestion des ressources végétales de la préhistoire à nos jours. XXXe rencontres internatinales d'archéologie et d'histoire d'Antibes, eds. C. Delhon I. Théry-Parisot, S. Thiébault, pp. 19-30. Éditions APDCA, Antibes. [Download PDF]
Syria /T. Seker al-Aheimar/PPNB

Portillo, M., M.C. Belarte, J. Ramon, N. Kallala, J. Sanmartí, and R.M. Albert
2017 An ethnoarchaeological study of livestock dung fuels from cooking installations in northern Tunisia. Quaternary International 431: 131-144. Tunisia/fuel/ethnoarchaeology/sheep/goat/phytolith/spherulite/ash pseudomorph

Portillo, Marta, Kate Dudgeon, Georgia Allistone, Kamal Raeuf Aziz, and Wendy Matthews
2020 The Taphonomy of Plant and Livestock Dung Microfossils: An Ethnoarchaeological and Experimental Approach. Environmental Archaeology. DOI:10.1080/14614103.2020.1800344
experimental archaeology/cattle/sheep/goat

Portillo, Marta, Aroa García Suárez, Arkadiusz Klimowicz, Marek Zbigniew Barański, and Wendy Matthews
2019 Animal penning and open area activity at Neolithic Çatalhöyük, Turkey. Journal of Anthropological Archaeology 56. DOI: 10.1016/j.jaa.2019.101106

Portillo, Marta, Seiji Kadowaki, Yoshihiro Nishiaki, and Rosa M. Albert
2013 Early Neolithic household behavior at Tell Seker al-Aheimar (Upper Khabur, Syria): a comparison to ethnoarchaeological study of phytoliths and dung spherulites. Journal of Archaeological Science, online Nov. 7, 2013.
Syria/T. Seker al-Aheimar/PPNB/storage/ethnoarchaeology/fuel/building material

Proctor, Lucas, Alexia Smith, and Gil J. Stein
2022 Archaeobotanical and dung spherulite evidence for Ubaid and Late Chalcolithic fuel, farming, and feasting at Surezha, Iraqi Kurdistan. Journal of Archaeological Science: Reports 43: 103449.

Ramprasad, Vanaja
2012 Manure, soil and the Vedic literature: agricultural knowledge and practice on the Indian subcontinent over the last two millennia. In Manure Matters: Historical, Archaeological and Ethnographic Perspectives, pp. 173-181, ed. R. Jones. Ashgate, Aldershot.

Ramsay, Jennifer and Yotam Tepper
2010 Signs from a green desert: a preliminary examination of the archaeobotanical remains from a Byzantine dovecote near Shivta, Israel. Vegetation History and Archaeobotany 19: 235-242.

Rasmussen, Peter
1989 Leaf Foddering in the earliest Neolithic agriculture. Evidence from Switzerland and Denmark. Acta Archaeologica 60: 71-85.

Rasmussen, Peter
1989 Leaf-foddering of Livestock in the Neolithic: archaeobotanical evidence from Weier, Switzerland. Journal of Danish Archaeology 8: 51-71.

Rasmussen, Peter
1993 Analysis of goat/sheep faeces from Egolzwil 3, Switzerland: evidence for branch and twig foddering of livestock in the Neolithic. Journal of Archaeological Science 20: 479-502. [doi:10.1006/jasc.1993.1030]
Switzerland/Egolzwil 3/fodder

Reddy, Seetha N.
1998 Fueling the hearths in India: the role of dung in paleoethnobotanical interpretation. Paléorient 24 (2): 61-70.

Regev, L., D. Cabanes, R. Homsher, A. Kleiman, S. Weiner, I. Finkelstein, R. Shahack-Gross
2015 Geoarchaeological investigation in a domestic Iron Age quarter, Tel Megiddo, Israel. BASOR 374: 135-157.
Israel/T. Megiddo/geoarchaeology/FTIR spectroscopy/phytoliths/micromorphology

Rhode, David, David B. Madsen, P. Jeffrey Brantingham, Tsultrim Dargye
2014 Yaks, yak dung, and prehistoric human habitation of the Tibetan Plateau. Developments in Quaternary Sciences 9: 205-224

Rhode, D., D.B. Madsen, P.J. Brantingham, and T. Goebel
2003 Human occupation of the Beringian mammoth steppe: Starved for fuel or dung- burner’s paradise? Current Research in the Pleistocene 20: 68-70.

Richard, Herve
1986 Analyse pollinique des niveaux archéologiques et des coprolithes. In Les sites littoraux néolithiques de Clairvaux-les Lacs, Jura. I.: Problématique generale. L'exemple de la station III, ed. P. Petrequin, pp. 149-153. Edition de la Maison des Sciences de l'Homme, Paris.
France/Neolithic, pollen/sheep-goat (pp. 152-153 )/OA

Riehl, Simone
1999 Tierhaltung und Ökologie in Tell el 'Abd.
sheep/goat (nice photo, too!)

Robinson, David and Bent Aaby
1994 Pollen and plant macrofossil analyses from the Gedensby Ship - a Medieval shipwreck from Falster, Denmark. Vegetation History and Archaeobotany 3: 167-182.
Denmark/cattle (horses?)/OA

Robinson, David and Peter Rasmussen, Peter
1989 Botanical investigations at the Neolithic Lake Village at Weier, North East Switzerland: leaf hay and cereals as animal fodder. In The Beginnings of Agriculture, eds. A. Milles, D. Williams, and N. Gardner, pp. 149-163. BAR International Series 496, Oxford.

Romina Sandra Petrigh, Nadia Jimena Velázquez, Martín Horacio Fugassa, Lidia Susana Burry, Mariana Mondini, and María Alejandra Korstanje
2021 Herbivore coprolites from the South-Central Andes. A multiproxy study at Los Viscos archaeological site, Catamarca, Argentina. Journal of Archaeological Science: Reports 38 (103063).

Rosas, C.A., D.M. Engle, J.H. Shaw, & M.W. Palmer
2008 Seed dispersal by Bison bison in a tallgrass prairie. Journal of Vegetation Science , on-line
Seed dispersal/bison

Rosen, Steven A., Arkady B. Savinetsky, Yosef Plakht, Nina K.Kisseleva, Bulat F. Khassanov, Andrey M. Pereladov, and MordecaiHaiman
2005 Dung in the desert: preliminary Results of the Negev Holocene Ecology Project. Current Anthropology 46:317-327.

Rouppert, V., J.-Y. Dafour, K. Fechner
2011 An example of a fruitful discussion between a pedologist and an archaeologist. A 1st-4th century AD agricultural enclosure with a stable and a manure pit at "Chapelle Saint-Nicolas" inSaint-Brice-sous-forêt (Val-d'Oise, France). In Archaeology, Soil- and Life-Sciences Applied to Enclosures and Fields, eds. K. Fechner, Y. Devos, M. Leopold, and J. Völkel, pp. 133-142. BAR International 2222.
France/Chapelle Saint-Nicolas/AD/

Sareiya, K.P. and P. Venkataramany
1962 Use of cattle-dung as manure and domestic fuel. Indian Forester 88: 718-724.

Schelvis, Jaap
1992 The identification of archaeological dung deposits on the basis of remains of predatory mites (Acari; Gamasida). Journal of Archaeological Science 19: 677-682. [doi:10.1016/0305-4403(92)90037-4]

Schepers, Mans and Henk Van Haaster
2015 Dung matters: An experimental study into the effectiveness of using dung from hay-fed livestock to reconstruct local vegetation. Environmental Archaeology 20: 66-81.
cattle/sheep/goat/experimental archaeology

Schmidt, Edith
2006 Remains of fly puparia as indicators of Neolithic cattle farming. Environmental Archaeology 11: 143-144.
Germany/3M/Lake Federsee/insect remains

Schofield, J. Edward and Kevin J. Edwards
2011 Grazing impacts and woodland management in Eriksfjord: Betula, coprophilous fungi and the Norse settlement of Greenland. Vegetation History and Archaeobotany 20: 181-197. [doi:10.1007/s00334-011-0281-7]
Greenland/Viking/land use

June, 2011

Shahack-Gross, Ruth
2011 Herbivorous livestock dung: formation, taphonomy, methods for identification, and archaeological significance. Journal of Archaeological Science 38(2): 205-218. [doi:10.1016/j.jas.2010.09.019]

Shahack-Gross, R.
2017 Animal gathering enclosures. In Archaeological Soil and Sediment Micromorphology, eds. C. Nicosia and G. Stoops, pp. 265-280. Wiley, Hoboken, New Jersey.

Shahack-Gross, Ruth, Rosa-Maria Albert, Ayelet Gilboa, OrnaNagar-Hilman, Ilan Sharon, Steve Weiner
2005 Geoarchaeology in an urban context: the uses of space in a Phoenician monumental building at Tel Dor (Israel). Journal of Archaeological Science 32: 1417-1431. [doi:10.1016/j.jas.2005.04.001]
Israel/Tel Dor/1M/feature/micromorphology/phytolith

Shahack-Gross, R., F. Berna, P. Karkanas, and S. Weiner
2004 Bat guano and preservation of archaeological remains in cave sites. Journal of Archaeological Science 31:1259-1272. [doi:10.1016/j.jas.2004.02.004] [ref in Shahack-Gross 2011]
bat guano

Shahack-Gross,Ruth, Elisabetta Boaretto, Dan Cabanes, Ofir Katz and Israel Finkelstein
2014 Subsistence economy in the Negev Highlands: the Iron Age and the Byzantine/Early Islamic period. Levant 46: 98-117.

Shahack-Gross, Ruth and Israel Finkelstein
2007 Subsistence practices in an arid environment: a geoarchaeological investigation in an Iron Age Site, the Negev highlands, Israel. Journal of Archaeological Science 35: 965-982. [doi:10.1016/j.jas.2007.06.019]
Levant/animal pen/1M/Early Iron Age/Atar Haroa

Shahack-Gross, Ruth, Fiona Marshall, and Steve Weiner
2003 Geo-ethnoarchaeology of pastoral sites: the identification of livestock enclosures in abandoned Maasai settlements. Journal of Archaeological Science 30: 439-459. [doi:10.1006/jasc.2002.0853]
Kenya/boma/stable litter/cattle/caprine/micromorphology/phytolith

Shahack-Gross, Ruth, Allison Simons, and Stanley H. Ambrose
2008 Identification of pastoral sites using stable nitrogen and carbon isotopes from bulk sediment samples: a case study in modern and archaeological pastoral settlements in Kenya. Journal of Archaeological Science 35: 983-990. [doi:10.1016/j.jas.2007.07.002]
Maasai/animal pen

Shiel, Robert
2012 Science and practice: the ecology of manure in historical retrospect. In Manure Matters: Historical, Archaeological and Ethnographic Perspectives, pp. 13-23, ed. R. Jones. Ashgate, Aldershot.
Roman classical authors

Shillito, Lisa-Marie, Ian D. Bull, Wendy Matthews, Matthew J. Almond, James M. Williams, and Ricard P. Evershed
2011 Biomolecular and micromorphological analysis of suspected faecal deposits at Neolithic Çatalhöyük, Turkey. Journal of Archaeological Science 38(8): 1869-1877.

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2013 Biomolecular investigations of faecal biomarkers aat Sheikh-e Abad and Jani. In The Earliest Neolithic of Iran: 2008 Excavations at Sheikh-e Abad and Jani, eds. R. Matthews, W. Matthews, and Y. Mohammadifar, pp. 105-116. Central Zagros Archaeological Project, CZAP Reports 1. Oxbow Books, Oxford.

Sidoroff, Maria Louise
2019 Experimental bonfirings of pottery with camel dung fuel, Jordan, July 2018. Experimental Archaeology, 2019/2.

Sillar, B.
2000 Dung by preference: the choice of fuel as an example of how Andean pottery production is embedded within wider technical, social and economic practices. Archaeometry 42(1): 43-60. [doi:10.1111/j.1475-4754.2000.tb00865.x]

Simpson, Ian A., Orri Vésteinsson, W. Paul Adderley, and Thomas H. McGovern
2003 Fuel resource utilisation in landscapes of settlement. Journal of Archaeological Science 30: 1401-1420. doi:10.1016/S0305-4403(03)00035-9

Smith, Alexia, Lucas Proctor, Thomas C. Hart, and Gil J. Stein
2018 The burning issue of dung in archaeobotanical samples: a case-study integrating macro-botanical remains, dung spherulites, and phytoliths to assess sample origin an fuel use at Tell Zeidan, Syria. Vegetation History and Archaeobotany.

Smith David, Kalla Nayyar, Danielle Schreve, Richard Thomas, and Nicki Whitehouse
2014 Can dung beetles from the palaeoecological and archaeological record indicate herd concentration and the identity of herbivores? Quaternary International 341:119-130.

Spengler, Robert N. III
2018 Dung burning in the archaeobotanical record of West Asia: where are we now?. Vegetation History and Archaeobotany.
West Asia/fuel

Stika, Hans-Peter
1995 Fuente Alamo. Die archäobotanische Untersuchung einer bronzezeitlichen Siedlung in Südostspanien. In Res archaeobotanicae, International Workgroup for Palaeoethnobotany, Proceedings of the Ninth Symposium, Kiel 1992. eds. H. Kroll and R. Pasternak, pp. 309-316. Oetker-Voges-Verlag, Kiel.
Spain/macro/fuel?/>100 carbonised sheep-goat droppings (p. 314)/OA

Stiner, Mary C., Hijlke Buitenhuis, Güneş Duru, Steven L. Kuhn, Susan M. Mentzer, Natalie D. Munroe, Nadja Pöllath, Jay Quade, Georgia Tsartsidou, and Mihriban Özbaşaran
2014 A forager–herder trade-off, from broad-spectrum bhunting to sheep management at Aşıklı Höyük, Turkey
Turkey/Aşıklı Höyük/feature [evidence of stalling]/caprine Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, early edition.
Turkey/Aşıklı H/early animal husbandry/caprine/stabling

Szpak, Paul, Jean-François Millaire, Christine D. White, Fred J. Longstaff
2012 Influence of seabird guano and camelid dung fertilization on the nitrogen isotopic composition of field-grown maize (Zea mays). Journal of Archaeological Science 39: 3721-3740. doi:10.1016/j.jas.2012.06.035

Therkorn, L. L., R. W. Brandt, J. P. Pals and M. Taylor
1984 An Early Iron Age farmstead: Site Q of the Assendelver Polders Project. Proceedings of the Prehistoric Society 50: 351-373.

Thompson, G.B.
1996 Ethnographic models for interpreting rice remains. In The Excavation of Khok Phanom Di, A Prehistoric Site in Central Thailand, vol. IV. Subsistence and Environment: The Botanical Evidence, by G.B. Thompson, pp. 119-150. Society of Antiquities, London.
Thailand/Khok Phanom Di/threshing floor/ethnoarch

Tomescu, Alexandru Mihail Florian, Valentin Radu, and Dragos Moise
2003 High resolution stratigraphic distribution of coprolites withinneolithic middens, a case study: Harsova-Tell (Constanta County,southeast Romania. Environmental Archaeology 8: 97-109.

Troels-Smith, J.
1955 Pollenanalytische Untersuchungen zu einigen schweizerischen Pfahlbauproblemen. In Das Pfahlbauproblem, ed. W. U. Guyan, pp. 11-68. Monographien zur Ur- und Frühgeschichte der Schweiz 11. Birkhauser, Basel.
Switzerland/pollen/3 sheep-goat droppings (pp. 28-32)/OA

Troels-Smith, J.
1984 Stall-feeding and field manuring in Switzerland about 6000 years ago. Tools and Tillage 5: 13-25.

Valamoti, S.M.
2007 Detecting seasonal movement from animal dung: an investigation in Neolithic northern Greece. Antiquity 81:1053-1064. [ref in Shahack-Gross 2011]

Valamoti, Soultana Maria
2013 Towards a distinction between digested and undigested glume bases in the archaeobotanical record from Neolithic northern Greece: A preliminary experimental investigation. Environmental Archaeology 18:31-42.

Valamoti, Soultana Maria and Mike Charles
2005 Distinguishing food from fodder through the study of charred plant remains: an experimental approach to dung-derived chaff. Vegetation History and Archaeobotany 14: 528-533. [doi:10.1007/s00334-005-0090-y]
Greece//Makriyalos//Makri//Late Neolithic//goat

van der Veen, Marijke
2007 Formation processes of desiccated and carbonized plant remains-the identification of routine practice. Journal of Archaeological Science 34:960-990. [doi:10.1016/j.jas.2006.09.007]

van Geel, Bas, Janneke Buurman, Otto Brinkkemper, Jaap Schelvis, André Aptroot, Guido van Reenen, and Tom Hakbijl
2003 Environmental reconstruction of a Roman Period settlement site in Uitgeest (The Netherlands), with special reference to coprophilous fungi. Journal of Archaeological Science 30(7): 873-883. [doi:10.1016/S0305-4403(02)00265-0]
The Netherlands/Uitgeest/Roman/fungus

Varisco, Daniel
2012 Zibl and : coming to terms with manure in Arab agriculture. In Manure Matters: Historical, Archaeological and Ethnographic Perspectives, pp. 129-143, ed. R. Jones. Ashgate, Aldershot.
Arabian Peninsula/ethnohistory

Waddington, Kate
2012 (Re)cycles of life in Late Bronze Age southern Britain. In Manure Matters: Historical, Archaeological and Ethnographic Perspectives, pp. 41-59, ed. R. Jones. Ashgate, Aldershot.
United Kingdom/middens

Wallace, Michael and Michael Charles
2013 What goes in does not always come out: The impact of the ruminant digestive system of sheep on plant material, and its importance for the interpretation of dung-derived archaeobotanical assemblages. Environmental Archaeology 18:18-30.

Warington, K.
1924 The influence of manuring on the weed flora of arable land. Journal of Ecology 12: 111-126.

Wasylikowa, Krystyna
1992 Holocene flora of the Tadrart Acacus area, SW Libya, based on plant macrofossils from Uan Muhuggiag and Ti-nTorha/Two Caves Archaeological Sites. Origini 16: 125-152, 157-159. (photograph)
Libya/Uan Muhaggiag/sheep/goat

Wilson, D.G.
1979 Horse dung from Roman Lancaster. Archaeo-Physika 8: 331-350.

Winterhalder, B., R. Larsen, and R. B. Thomas
1974 Dung as an essential resource in a highland Peruvian community. Human Ecology 2: 89-104. [doi:10.1007/BF01558115]

Wright, Milt
1986 Le bois de vache: This chip's for you. Saskatchewan Archaeology 7: 25-28.

Wright, Milt
1992 Le bois de vache II: This chip's for you too. In Alberta: Studies in the Arts and Sciences, ed. J. Foster and D. Harrison. Vol. 3, No. 2, pp. 225-244. The University of Alberta Press.

Xin Wang, Benjamin T. Fuller, Pengcheng Zhang, Songmei Hu, Yaowu Hu and Xue Shang
2018 Millet manuring as a driving force for the Late Neolithic agricultural expansion of north China. Nature Scientific Reports 8:5552. [DOI:10.1038/s41598-018-23315-4]

Zapata Peña, Lydia, Leonor Peña-Chocarro, Juan José Ibáñez Esté, and JesúsGonzález Urquijo
2004 Ethnoarchaeology in the Moroccan Jebala (Western Rif): Woodand dung as fuel. In Food, Fuel and Fields. Progress in African Archaeobotany, eds. K. Neumann, A. Butler, and S. Kahlheber, pp.163-175. Heinrich-Barth Institut, Köaut;ln.

Zimmermann, W. H.
1999 Why was cattle-stalling introduced in prehistory? The significance of byre and stable and of outwintering. In Settlement and Landscape, Proceedings of a Conference in Arhus, Denmark, May 4-7 1998, eds. C. Fabech and J. Ringtved, pp. 295-312. Jutland Archaeological Society. Arhus. [Download PDF]
N. Europe/cattle/fertilizer

Zimmermann, W. H.
1999 Favourable conditions for cattle farming, one reason for the Anglo-Saxon migration over the North Sea? About the Byre's evolution in the area south and east of the North Sea and England. In In Discussion with the Past, eds. H. Sarfatij, W. H. Verwers and P. J. Woltering, pp. 129-144. Archaeological Studies Presented to W. A. van Es. Amersfoort.
[ Download PDF]
N. Europe/cattle/fertilizer

Zimmermann, W. H.
1999 Stallhaltung und Auswinterung der Haustiere in ur- und frühgeschichtlicher Zeit, Beiträge zur Mittelalterarchäologie in Österreich 15, 1999, pp. 27-33. [Download PDF]
N. Europe/fertilizer

Zimmermann, W. Haio
2014 Anmerkungen zur Geschichte des Stalles von der Urgeschichte bis zur Neuzeit am Beispiel von Rinderstall und Schweinekoben. Praehistorica XXXII/2: 329-358. Univerzita Karlova V Praze.
N.Europe/pig sties/cattle byres/phosphate/ethno

Heat of dung-fueled fires (back to top of page)

An edited exchange from the Archaeobotany List (

On Mon, 14 Apr 1997, Naomi Miller wrote:
Does anyone know how hot a dung-fueled fire burns? Or have a reference? Several people have asked me this question in just the past month! Clearly a hot topic.

It burns a lot cooler than a wood fire, with a steady low flame. In India, it is used as fuel for cooking. Whomever does the cooking "puts the pot on to boil" in the morning and leaves for the daily work. Upon returning for lunch the meal is done. In addition, it's free. See Marvin Harris, "Cows, Pigs, Wars and Witches"

From: kealhofer lisa k
Rice's citations and discussions of open pit firing commonly include grass, wood, and dung. The temperatures range from 550 C to 900 C. Temperatures in enclosed spaces, such as kilns, ovens, or even hearths may be at the upper end of this range and higher. [Rice 1987:156, 164,165]

From: Alwynne Beaudoin
Milt Wright (1986) Le Bois De Vache: This Chip's For You. Saskatchewan Archaeology 7: 25-28.

Milt Wright (1992) Le Bois De Vache II: This Chip's For You Too. In Alberta: Studies in the Arts and Sciences, edited by John Foster and Dick Harrison. Vol. 3, No. 2, pp. 225-244. The University of Alberta Press.

Milt, who was formerly a colleague of mine here at the Provincial Museum, carried out a number of experiments with burning bison dung, and comparing the temperatures with fires from wood (poplar and spruce). He was concerned to investigate the effectiveness of dung fires. Although serious science, the papers are also well worth reading for Milt's sense of humour and writing style.

From: Delwen Samuel
Regarding temperatures of dung-fuelled fires, my experiment in Egypt with local village-made dung cake fuel (using palm fronds for initial tinder) produced a maximum of 640 degrees C in 12 minutes, falling to 240 degrees C after 25 minutes and 100 degrees C after 46 minutes. These temperatures were obtained without refuelling and without bellows etc. I'm not sure what the dung consisted of exactly but was probably a mixture of water buffalo, cow, and perhaps donkey dung. The full time/temperature records are published on p. 276 in:
D. Samuel (1989) Their staff of life: Initial investigations on ancient Egyptian bread baking In: B. J. Kemp, ed. Amarna Reports V, London: Egypt Exploration Society, pp 253-290.

From: M. Madella
From our ethnographical observation in Pakistan, cow/buffalo dung is also used to fire pottery. The kilns are prepared with layers of dung + whatever organic thing that can burn (paper/straw/dead branches...) and pottery. Then are sealed with soil, leaving some holes for the fumes and to control the burning. In general dung is the principal source of fuel.

Of course it is the major source of fire for house cooking. In the desertic areas dung from camel is also used.

The Baloochi tribes that live in the Thar during the winter use sheep/goat dung to make fires with a lot of smoke outside their huts - this keeps under control the mosquitos!

At the moment I am working on the phytolith content of such fires in comparison with the fireplaces for cooking (where a mixture of camel/cow dung and wood is used) and, although the results are very very preliminary, it seems to be possible to discriminate between the two different fires on the base of phytolith assemblages.

From: Ruth Shahack-Gross, e-mail Sept. 21, 2006
I conducted an experimental firing of dung in an open fire. Cattle dung reached a maximum of 630 degrees Celsius and sheep dung a maximum of 570C. The pellets, especially those from the sheep, continue to smolder for quite a long time and essentially have the same characteristics as those of live embers. It is quite a good fuel material. This experiment was done as part of my work published in the Tel Dor article (Shahack-Gross et al. 2005)

Dung and Kazakh Cooking (back to top of page)

Julia McLean writes (email, April 20, 2015):
Another friend from northwest Xinjiang, Khaulan, tells me that corn was the base of his parents' diets, growing up in the 1960s/70s in Tacheng, a small city just 15 kilometers from the Kazakh border. The father spent his first ten years in a yurt, until his family was forcibly relocated to the town. Apparently-oh and I just loved hearing about this, I thought of you-one of the biggest emotional losses for his father's family, and really for all of the families in his town who shifted to urban living, was the change in taste when they stopped cooking with dung fuel. In the beginning, they all bought dung from rural neighbors, but as time has gone on and the population has become increasingly urbanized, dung fuel is nearly impossible to come by. Even when they can buy it, the question becomes where to store it? Nobody wants a bunch of dung in their tiny apartment. One of the biggest changes to "being Kazakh," he thinks, happened when families switched to wood fires, and then to gas or electric. Not only did they lose the characteristic flavor, but the style of cooking itself changed to adapt to higher temperatures and faster cooking times.

Khaulan wasn't the only one to emphasize the importance of dung fuel to "real Kazakh cooking." Talking about food with the old man from Qyzylorda, a girl my age from Taraz, and a boy my age from a teensy village near the Kyrgyz border, all three came back to the very special taste imparted by dung fuel. The best dung comes from a hay called "chi" [a Stipa sp./Achnatherum splendens]. Bread, in particular, they told me, benefits from the slow, even heat of a dung fire, producing a tenderer crumb than that from a wood-burning oven. Elmira, the girl from Taraz, emphasized that dung-fired bread lasts much longer than wood-fired bread. Taba nan, as it is called, is cooked between two pans directly in the fire. The bread takes longer to bake, but will not go stale for over a week. "A week, two weeks, and it is still tender!" Uzbek and Uighur bread, by contrast, is "impatient bread" meant to be eaten the day it is baked. Elmira calls this a difference between city bread and nomad bread. When I asked friends from northern Kazakhstan about taba nan, however, I got blank stares. "Only southern Kazakhs eat a lot of bread," they said. "We eat meat. And now potatoes."

Dung and World War II (back to top of page)

The Secrets of War, copyright 1998 Documedia group.
An interview with D. Fisher; here is an excerpt:

DF: ...They found uh, some forms of pigment, they found all kinds of...what they didn't find, what they couldn't find was something that would give the paint the right color. Uh, so eventually what they did was took camel dung, of which there was an abundance in the desert, and they mixed it into the paint and they created this camouflage paint that eventually for almost a year was the only thing that they used in the desert. And it created the right, obviously created the right color.

Q: So did they make a run on camel dung?

DF: So once they used camel dung, what happened was camel dung actually had a lot of uses in the desert, it was used to heat stoves, to bake bread, to do all kinds of things. Uh, so Maskelyn, because they needed massive amounts, sent out all his people with burlap bags, and they would walk along camels, and they would pick it up and uh,obviously among the Egyptians they would look and they would say, "Who are these strange British people who are fighting us for the camel dung?"

Q: (unintelligible)

DF: The other thing with camel dung that was....(long pause)

Q: The other thing....

DF: One of the, Maskelyn really got involved, to prove his worth Maskelyn got involved in a lot of different projects very quickly after he arrived in the desert. One of them was that the British were trying to make uh, different sort of lines uh, trying to make different sort of mines to blow up the Germans tanks, and at one point Maskelyn created, or helped create small explosives that looked like camel dung because it was known that Germans tank drivers, it was good luck to drive your tank over camel dung. So Maskelyn made these small mines that looked like camel dung,and the Germans would drive their tanks over it, they would blow up, they would blow up the track, put the tank out of action, and it became known that Maskelyn, that they were doing this, and there was an order that went out to the German tank drivers not to drive over camel dung. So then what Maskelyn started doing is he started making these things that looked like camel dung that a tank had already driven over, it had tracks in it, so when the tank drivers saw these things that had already been driven over, they knew they were safe, they drove over them, and again the tracks exploded.

[NFM: Amazing what you find when you do a search for "camel dung"!]

And why did the Germans think camel dung was lucky? Maybe the answer is to be found at the microbial level; (relevant part in English).

Dung and the CIA

When the CIA's secret gadget-makers invented a listening device for the Asian jungles, they disguised it so the enemy would not be tempted to pick it up and examine it: The device looked like tiger droppings.The guise worked. Who would touch such a thing? The fist-size, brown transmitter detected troop movements along the trails during fighting in Vietnam, a quiet success for a little-known group of researchers at the intelligence agency.--Tim Bridis, Philadelphia Inquirer (January 4, 2004)

Photo links

To see an attractive photograph (from Turkey) of this useful substance, click here, or link to some from ancient Syria!

Dung in the News [some links may not work anymore]

Camels' Manure. From Waste to a Worthwhile Farming Agent (from the; Traditional Animal Genetic Resources for Food Security Under Climate Change Influence, 2016)

The author, Dr. Raziq (an animal agriculture PhD) comments that a 600 kg dairy(!) camel produces 15-17 kg dry manure daily. He suggests it could help compost date palm waste, making both more valuable. He also suggests a few possible uses for camel dung: 1) Farmyard manure/fertilizer, 2) Material to combat desertification and dune-fixing, 3) Bio-paper, 4) Bio-gas, 5) Power generation. He also cites: Hoffmann, I. & Mohammed, I. 2004. The role of nomadic camels for manuring farmer's fields in the Sokoto close-settled zone, Northwest Nigeria. Nomadic Peoples 8(1): 1-14.

National Poo Museum opens doors on Isle of Wight (, April 4, 2016)

Llama Dung May Be Used to Clean Bolivia Water Supply (National Geographic Society, April 18, 2003)

In Bolivia, water seeping from abandoned mines in the Andes is polluting the main water supply of La Paz, the capital city. But a team of researchers is developing a low-cost way to neutralize the acidic, metal-laden water through a highly unusual filter: llama droppings.

In a pilot study, the scientists used llama dung to treat run-off from a tin and silver mine that has killed organisms in an alpine lake and continues to pollute the La Paz water supply.

Farm Uses Camel Dung for Environmental Clean-up. (Gulf News, Dubai, May 16, 2002)

In order to minimise the environmental impact of its oil-field operations, BP Sharjah has been using camel dung and grass clippings to clean up soil contaminated by oil or chemical spillage.

In a novel environmental exercise, BP Sharjah Oil Company has established an on site 'bioremediation' farm, the company's regional Outlook magazine has reported. Situated within the Sajaa Plant operational area, the farm treats any soil contaminated by accidental oil or chemical spillage.

"The treatment uses the natural bacteria found in the dung of locally grazing camels to degrade the hydrocarbon content of the soil, eventually leaving it non-hazardous," said a company statement.

Guts, Germination, and Seeds
Andrew M. Sugden

Many plant species take advantage of the mobility of animals for the dispersal of pollen and seeds. A common form of seed dispersal is endozoochory, whereby animals ingest seeds and fruits and then pass the seeds in their feces; the seeds of some plants actually require passage through an animal gut in order to germinate. Pakeman et al. quantify this phenomenon in an ecological context by recording seed dispersal by rabbits and sheep in a variety of grazed habitats in Scotland, and by germinating seed from dung collected during the summer months. The seeds of almost 40% of the plant species recorded in these habitats were able to germinate successfully after passing through rabbits or sheep--a substantially higher proportion than previously thought. Regardless of habitat type, species with smaller seeds and those capable of persisting in a soil seedbank tended to predominate. -- AMS
Funct. Ecol. 16, 296 (2002)

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