Herbivorous livestock dung: Formation, taphonomy, methods for identification, and archaeological significance

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Herbivore livestock dung has been identified in archaeological sites around the world. Focusing on dung from the ubiquitous Old World herbivorous domesticates - sheep, goats and cattle - this review deals with the materials found within dung that have relevance to archaeology. The natural and anthropogenic/cultural taphonomic processes that affect the preservation and identification of livestock dung, and the archaeological information that can be extracted through detailed studies of the context and content of identified livestock dung in archaeological sites is modeled and discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)205-218
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Archaeological Science
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2011
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Some of the data presented in this review is a result of numerous studies conducted in Kenya and Israel and funded by the National Science Foundation , the Wenner-Gren Foundation , the Israel Science Foundation , and the Kimmel Center for Archaeological Science , Weizmann Institute of Science , Israel. I thank Steve Weiner and Fiona Marshall for their inspiration and support, and Ofer Bar-Yosef for commenting on an earlier version of this paper. I would also like to thank three anonymous reviewers for their very helpful comments.


  • Archaeology
  • Dung
  • Formation processes
  • Identification
  • Taphonomy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Archaeology
  • Archaeology


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