An Idiosyncratic and Not Exhaustive Bibliography for Animal Dung and Archaeology

accumulated by Naomi F. Miller, University of Pennsylvania Museum

May 2018

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.

In other dung news, National Poo Museum opens doors on Isle of Wight [April 4, 2016]

And now you can see the movie, "Yak Dung"! Here's the link: "With temperatures falling as low as -40ºC 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

May 2018

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.

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

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

October 2017

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

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

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

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.

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]

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.

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

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

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, 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.

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.

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, 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

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

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

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

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.

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

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
2014 Egyptian faience glazing by the cementation method part 2: cattle dung ash as a possible source of alkali flux. online: Archaeological and Anthropological Sciences

Egypt/cattle dung ash/faience/experimental archaeology

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

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.

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.

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.

Mouissie, A.M., P. Vos, H.M.C. Verhagen, and J.P. Bakker
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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

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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

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!

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

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, 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, 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

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.

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.

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
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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, 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
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Levant/animal pen/1M/Early Iron Age/Atar Haroa

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Kenya/boma/stable litter/cattle/caprine/micromorphology/phytolith

Shahack-Gross, Ruth, Allison Simons, and Stanley H. Ambrose
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Shiel, Robert
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Roman classical authors

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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
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Turkey/Aşıklı H/early animal husbandry/caprine/stabling

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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!

"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.

See also "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.

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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