Miami, FL -- (ReleaseWire) -- 01/22/2013 -- Harvard University educated archaeologist and president of the archaeological contract firm PRC, Inc., Dr. Joel Klenck, reports prehistoric sites on Mount Ararat in Turkey exhibit few bone remains but much evidence of coprolites or animal dung, within a monumental wood structure.
Klenck remarks, “Archaeological sites on Ararat, which comprise a monumental wood structure, smaller wood edifices, and a cave, originate from the Late Epipaleolithic Period (13,100 to 9,600 B.C.). Excepting the bone tools, only two animal bone remains were remotely associated with the site. These remains comprise a horn core from a wild goat (Capra species) and a mostly complete cranium of a horse (Equus caballus). I determined the cranium belonged to a horse rather than other equid species by bone measurements and traits on the maxillary teeth including U-shaped interstylar profiles and thick styles, complex fossette folds, well developed Pli caballin, and asymmetric protocones. These morphological traits are very familiar to zooarchaeologists or those that analyze animal bone remains from archaeological contexts. These faunal remains might not be related to the archaeological sites because they were found on the surface between the archaeological sites, Areas A and B, at higher and lower elevations. Still, for good measure I analyzed these faunal remains.”
The archaeologist continues: “What we observed in the interior of the monumental wood structure (Area A) was significant amounts of animal coprolites or dung. This factor was especially odd because Locus 4, an installation near the exterior of the site, evidenced veneration by later cultures in the form of small ceramic bowls. Animal dung is pronounced in Locus 6 and visible in Locus 7. In Locus 3, where vegetable materials such as wild chickpea and bitter vetch were stored, there is a wood door lined with flax, straw, and wool. Here, the odor is terrible and suggests an adjacent installation with dung. Having entered the locus during the end of the summer on Mount Ararat, the experience was eye-watering.”
Klenck concludes, “Although I advise future archaeologists at the site to wear masks, the animal dung remains in the monumental wood structure provide researchers with an ideal opportunity to ascertain the animal species that deposited the dung by analyzing the genetic material from these remains.”
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