About the MapDung Project

With the transition from foragers to farmers lifestyle and the beginning of animal domestication, dung becomes a valuable material that can be used as fertilizer, fuel and for constructions.

While archaeological evidence for dung used as fuel and manure are increasing, its use for constructions has been hardly identified, despite ethnographic accounts that the use of dung for construction is still common in many societies. Therefore, it is important to understand if its absence from the archaeological record is the result of human preference or a research/preservation bias.

Studying human exploitation of dung in general and its use as a construction material, in particular, facilitates the understanding of human-animal relations, subsistence practices, human technology, and human impact on the environment.


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The aim of MapDung is to explore the possible early use of dung for construction as a proxy for understanding human-animal-environment relations and ecosystem.

The specific project’s goals are:

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Photo courtesy of Ruth Shahack Gross

To develop a new multi-proxy methodology for improved identification of dung, focused on construction materials

Studying the pre and post-depositional processes that affect archaeological dung used for construction

To provide wide regional understanding of the utilization and importance of animal secondary products during the Early Neolithic Period, and the socio-cultural aspects related to its use .


Photo courtesy of Jade Whitlam