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Journal of Arid Environments

Ryan, P.- Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, United Kingdom.  
Saltz, D.- Mitrani Department of Desert Ecology, The Jacob Blaustein Institutes for Desert Research, Ben Gurion University of the Negev, Sede Boqer Campus, Midreshet Ben-Gurion, 84990, Israel

Rosen, S.A.- The Department of Bible, Archaeology and Ancient Near East, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, POB 653, Beer Sheva, 84105, Israel.

Chemical and phytolith analyses of well-preserved goat faecal pellets from different strata of the Ramon I Rock Shelter, in the Makhtesh Ramon (Crater) in the Central Negev, Israel, show patterns of seasonal stabling and grazing among nomads from three different periods, the Late Neolithic, the Early Bronze Age, and recent times (ca. 1800 AD to date). Low faecal lignin and high protein in the ancient pellets, together with the high proportion of phytoliths from monocotyledons, but absence from grass inflorescences and seeds, reflect consumption of lush green herbage, with no browsing. In contrast, pellets from recent flocks indicate either foddering or later seasonal grazing. The chemistry of pellets collected from wild ibex grazing and browsing in spring through autumn corroborate the conclusion that ancient grazing, as reflected in the rock shelter materials, was early in the growing season. The morphometry of faecal pellets suggests that the goats were larger in the Early Bronze than in the Late Neolithic and Recent Periods. In general, the presence of rock shelter stabling spatially remote from habitation sites indicates seasonal social/economic fission, with specialized goatherds separating from the primary campsites for short periods as early as the Late Neolithic. A Near Infrared non-destructive calibration of protein in faecal pellets was implemented.

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Faecal pellets, rock shelters, and seasonality: The chemistry of stabling in the Negev of Israel in late prehistory
181

Ryan, P.- Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, United Kingdom.  
Saltz, D.- Mitrani Department of Desert Ecology, The Jacob Blaustein Institutes for Desert Research, Ben Gurion University of the Negev, Sede Boqer Campus, Midreshet Ben-Gurion, 84990, Israel

Rosen, S.A.- The Department of Bible, Archaeology and Ancient Near East, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, POB 653, Beer Sheva, 84105, Israel.

Faecal pellets, rock shelters, and seasonality: The chemistry of stabling in the Negev of Israel in late prehistory .

Chemical and phytolith analyses of well-preserved goat faecal pellets from different strata of the Ramon I Rock Shelter, in the Makhtesh Ramon (Crater) in the Central Negev, Israel, show patterns of seasonal stabling and grazing among nomads from three different periods, the Late Neolithic, the Early Bronze Age, and recent times (ca. 1800 AD to date). Low faecal lignin and high protein in the ancient pellets, together with the high proportion of phytoliths from monocotyledons, but absence from grass inflorescences and seeds, reflect consumption of lush green herbage, with no browsing. In contrast, pellets from recent flocks indicate either foddering or later seasonal grazing. The chemistry of pellets collected from wild ibex grazing and browsing in spring through autumn corroborate the conclusion that ancient grazing, as reflected in the rock shelter materials, was early in the growing season. The morphometry of faecal pellets suggests that the goats were larger in the Early Bronze than in the Late Neolithic and Recent Periods. In general, the presence of rock shelter stabling spatially remote from habitation sites indicates seasonal social/economic fission, with specialized goatherds separating from the primary campsites for short periods as early as the Late Neolithic. A Near Infrared non-destructive calibration of protein in faecal pellets was implemented.

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