Bar-Ilan News

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  • University Alumna Receives Prestigious Fellowship

    Date: 2018-03-04 Hour: 7:33

    Dr. Shira Gur-Arieh, a graduate of the Martin (Szusz) Department of Land of Israel Studies and Archaeology, has been awarded a prestigious Marie Sklodowska-Curie Fellowship at the Universitat Pompeu Fabra in Barcelona.

    The title of her planned project is: “MapDung: Dung as Construction Material during the Emergence of Animal Domestication: A Multi-Proxy Approach”.  The project will focus on the use of dung for construction at the dawn of the Neolithic Period and early animal domestication.

    Ethnographic sources have demonstrated the importance of animal dung as a versatile resource that in some areas is extensively used for fuel, manure, and construction. While the importance of dung as fuel or manure is increasingly recognized and archaeologically identified in the last years, its use for construction is less studied and only rarely identified in archaeological sites. Therefore, it is important to understand if its absence from the archaeological record is the result of human preference or a research/preservation bias. The aim of MapDung is therefore to explore the possible early use of dung for construction as a proxy for understanding human-animal-environment relations and ecosystem. The project’s goals are to develop a new multi-proxy methodology for improved identification of dung, focused on construction materials; to stud the post-depositional processes that affect archaeological dung used for construction; and to provide wide regional understanding of the utilization of animal secondary products during the Early Neolithic Period and the socio-cultural aspects related to its use.

    Dr. Gur-Arieh completed her doctoral dissertation under the supervision of Prof. Aren Maeir, of the Martin (Szusz) Department of Land of Israel Studies and Archaeology and Director of the Ackerman Family Bar-Ilan University Expedition to Gath.  She is a long-time member of the Safi excavation team, and a regular contributor to its research and publications.