Dung matters: An experimental study into the effectiveness of using dung from hay-fed livestock to reconstruct local vegetation

Schepers, M. & Van Haaster, H., 1-Feb-2015, In : Environmental Archaeology. 20, 1, p. 66-81 16 p.

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This paper explores the relationship between standing vegetation and dung from hay-fed cattle and sheep. In an experimental study, hay is retrieved from a known hay field, surrounded by a semi-open landscape of hedgerows, forests and heather fields. The hay is fed to cattle and sheep, after which the dung is collected and from which the botanical remains are analysed, according to archaeobotanical standards. The results from the macro-remains are compared to vegetation relevés from the hay field. The pollen analysis is compared to both the hay field and the surrounding vegetation. Results from the plant macro remains provide an excellent representation of the vegetation in the field itself on the presence/absence level. Pollen analysis reflects the regional vegetation very well and are comparable with 'surface samples'.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)66-81
Number of pages16
JournalEnvironmental Archaeology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1-Feb-2015


  • Dung, Experimental study, Hay field, Macro remains, Palynology, Vegetation reconstruction
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ID: 19342355