Session: #573

Theme & Session Format

1. Artefacts, Buildings & Ecofacts
Session format:
Regular session

Title & Content

Interdisciplinary Coprolite Analysis
Intact paleofeces, or coprolites, constitute a unique type of archaeological micro-context as short-lived time capsules of past animal or human diet and gut microbiomes. Analyses of their components may generate proxies for reconstructing paleoenvironment and paleoecologies, pastoral and agricultural activity, seasonality and mobility, foodways and health, among others. Coprolite studies are now conducted using a wide variety of methods, among them geoarchaeological (micromorphological, mineralogical, sedimentological), archaeobotanical (including palynological, carpological, phytolith), parasitological, spectroscopic (Raman, NIR, FTIR), biomolecular (genomic, proteomic, lipidomic), and isotopic (14C, δ13C, δ15N). The aim of this session is to present both novel analytical techniques and combinations of traditional techniques in identifying and analyzing intact coprolites. Papers may concern feces of any animal and should ultimately relate to research questions relevant to archaeology. While all papers should have a strong methodological component, case studies demonstrating the value of multi-proxy and interdisciplinary approaches to coprolite analysis are very much encouraged.
palaeofaeces, dung, multi-proxy analysis, archaeological science, animal diet, gut microbiome
Session associated with MERC:
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Main organiser:
Zachary Dunseth (United States) 1
Daniel Fuks (United Kingdom) 2
Shira Gur-Arieh (Germany) 3,4
1. Joukowsky Institute for Archaeology and the Ancient World, Brown University
2. McDonald Institute for Archaeological Research, University of Cambridge
3. Institute for Pre- and Protohistoric Archaeology and Archaeology of the Roman Provinces, Ludwig Maximilian University Munich
4. The Leon Recanati Institute for Maritime Studies, Haifa University