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Manure used by Europe's first farmers 8,000 years ago
University of Oxford ^ | 7-16-2013

Posted on 07/16/2013 1:24:39 PM PDT by Renfield

A new study says Europe's first farmers used far more sophisticated practices than was previously thought. A research team led by the University of Oxford has found that Neolithic farmers manured and watered their crops as early as 6,000 BC.

It had always been assumed that manure wasn't used as a fertiliser until Iron Age and Roman times. However, this new research shows that enriched levels of nitrogen-15, a stable isotope abundant in manure, have been found in the charred cereal grains and pulse seeds taken from 13 Neolithic sites around Europe.

The findings are published in the early edition of the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. The study suggests that Neolithic farmers used the dung from their herds of cattle, sheep, goats and pigs as a slow release fertiliser for crops.

Manuring involves a long-term investment in arable land because dung breaks down slowly and crops benefit from its nutrients over many years. This new theory indicates a long-term approach to farming.

The authors conclude that early farmers recognised the inherent value of intensively managed land and sought to maintain it for their descendants. This new perspective overturns the traditional view held by scholars that Neolithic farmers were nomadic people who used slash and burn to create temporary farmland for agricultural crops.

It is undisputed that the adoption of farming had a long-term impact on society. However, what has been unclear is the nature of early European farming and the role it has played in shaping social and economic change.

Lead author Dr Amy Bogaard from the School of Archaeology at the University of Oxford said: 'The fact that farmers made long-term investments such as manuring in their land sheds new light on the nature of early farming landscapes in Neolithic times. The idea that farmland could be cared for by the same family for generations seems quite an advanced notion, but rich fertile land would have been viewed as extremely valuable for the growing of crops. We believe that as land was viewed as a commodity to be inherited, social differences in early European farming communities started to emerge between the haves and the have-nots.'

The territoriality of early farming groups may help to explain documented events of the period involving extreme violence. The study cites the example of a Neolithic mass burial of the late sixth millennium BC at Talheim, Germany, which preserves the remains of a community killed by assailants wielding stone axes like those used to clear the land.

The research is based on stable carbon and nitrogen isotope analysis of 124 crop samples of barley, wheat, lentil and peas, totalling around 2,500 grains or seeds. The charred remains represent harvested crops preserved in Neolithic houses destroyed by fire. The samples were from archaeological excavations of Neolithic sites across Europe, dating from nearly 6,000 to 2,400 BC.

The study also has important implications for research into the diet of early farmers. Archaeologists rely on the stable isotope analysis of the skeletal remains to establish a signature, which provides information about what people once ate. The heavier stable isotope of nitrogen-15 found in manure mimics the isotopic effect of a diet rich in meat and milk.

It had been assumed that early farmers in northwest Europe had a diet full of animal protein. However, these results suggest that the protein from cereal and pulse crops is much higher than previously thought, and that Neolithic crops were a staple part of their diet.

The crop nitrogen isotope analysis suggests that early farmers in Europe used their manure strategically as a resource that was limited by the number of animals they owned and by the physical effort of hauling manure around. The study points out that there is evidence that the farmers carefully selected crops that would most benefit from fertiliser, leaving hardier crops to grow with little or no manure. This demonstrates a knowledge of growing crops that has been little acknowledged until now.

The cereal and pulse samples were taken from sites spread across Europe: in the UK, they included Hambledon Hill in Dorset and Lismore Fields near Buxton in Derbyshire. Other Neolithic sites included in the research were in Greece, Bulgaria, Germany and Denmark.


TOPICS: Agriculture; Food; History; Science
KEYWORDS: agriculture; animalhusbandry; archaeology; farming; godsgravesglyphs; manure

1 posted on 07/16/2013 1:24:40 PM PDT by Renfield
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To: SunkenCiv

Ping


2 posted on 07/16/2013 1:25:09 PM PDT by Renfield (Turning apples into venison since 1999!)
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To: Renfield

How is that possible when Boehner wasn’t even around then?


3 posted on 07/16/2013 1:27:20 PM PDT by Defiant (In the next rebellion, the rebels will be the ones carrying the American flag.)
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To: Defiant

Can anyone else hear George Carlin doing a skit .. “ .. that’s some old shit, man”


4 posted on 07/16/2013 1:36:55 PM PDT by knarf (I say things that are true ... I have no proof, but they're true.)
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To: Renfield; Revolting cat!
"Ma - newer!"


5 posted on 07/16/2013 1:37:59 PM PDT by a fool in paradise (America 2013 - STUCK ON STUPID)
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To: Renfield

pure bulls4!t.


6 posted on 07/16/2013 1:40:20 PM PDT by SpinnerWebb (In 2012 you will awaken from your HOPEnosis and have no recollection of this... "Constitution")
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To: Renfield
It always amazes me that so called "experts" are surprised when they discover that ancients were smart people.

The fact is that there is "nothing new under the Sun"..people are people.

There have always been scientists, thinkers, geeks, inventors, agronomists, farmers...etc.

The only difference is TIME...modern people have had more time to advance. 6000 years from now, the advancements up to 2013 will appear grossly primitive, but they will be stepping stones to 8013 technology.

So...do not be "surprised" at anything ancient that is found, its just the genius of man on display.

The deeper one digs, the more brilliant stuff will be found.

7 posted on 07/16/2013 1:44:08 PM PDT by B.O. Plenty (Give war a chance........)
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To: B.O. Plenty

There have always been scientists, thinkers, geeks, inventors, agronomists, farmers...etc.

&&&
So true.


8 posted on 07/16/2013 1:48:04 PM PDT by Bigg Red (Restore us, O God of hosts; let your face shine, that we may be saved! -Ps80)
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To: Renfield

This story is full of horse, er, hockey.


9 posted on 07/16/2013 1:50:51 PM PDT by VRW Conspirator (The Lefties can drink Kool-Aid; I will drink Tea.)
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To: Defiant

FARM GARDENING WITH HINTS ON CHEAP MANURING

http://www.gutenberg.org/files/36064/36064-h/36064-h.htm#Page_56

Compiled and Published, 1898


10 posted on 07/16/2013 1:51:59 PM PDT by Texas Fossil
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To: B.O. Plenty

It all began when Grog noticed Turok pilfering vegetables from his garden at night.

He figured, “I’ll put cow dump on my vegetables and that’ll show him! He won’t eat them!”

Then Grog noticed the improved performance of his crops.


11 posted on 07/16/2013 1:52:33 PM PDT by a fool in paradise (America 2013 - STUCK ON STUPID)
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To: Renfield

Should be doing some composting of human manure. Certainly an over-abundance of it. Compost it well for two years and can apply it to soil to grow crops for food—less time if for non-edibles. Just dont use it as disgusting raw ‘night soil’ as done in some Asian countries. Let the soil over time break it completely down and then use as composted fertilizer.


12 posted on 07/16/2013 1:54:20 PM PDT by tflabo (Truth or Tyranny)
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To: Renfield
Manure used by Europe's first farmers 8,000 years ago

How ironic that manure is still being used today. It serves as the foundation for our political structure - Obama's administration is built on mounds of manure as is the structure of the GOP-e.

13 posted on 07/16/2013 1:59:12 PM PDT by DustyMoment (Congress - another name for the American politburo!!)
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To: B.O. Plenty

There you go - quoting the Bible. Only bitter clingers actually believe that stuff, yannow.


14 posted on 07/16/2013 2:00:39 PM PDT by Past Your Eyes (You can't force people to care.)
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To: Renfield

Dung power.

O’s bro uses it. Or used to. Probably uses sterno or propane now.


15 posted on 07/16/2013 2:01:10 PM PDT by NormsRevenge (Semper Fi --)
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To: B.O. Plenty
It always amazes me that so called "experts" are surprised when they discover that ancients were smart people.

I couldn't agree with you more. Stop and think. These so-called 'stone age' people developed farming, domesticated animals. Figured out how to make leather, rope, weave cloth. The, famously invented the wheel, tamed fire and build some amazing structures. Not only did they figure a way to expand food production through agriculture, they also invented dozens of ways to preserve the excess food produced. They dried fruits, smoked meat, pickled, canned in pottery, made cheese, made wine and beer... I mean, they had NOTHING previous to go by, and came up with things that would be hard for us to do today using the simple tools they had developed. I know that it took thousands of years to achieve this progress, but it still is amazing.

16 posted on 07/16/2013 2:16:23 PM PDT by fhayek
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To: Renfield
It isn't complicated. All you need to be is observant. Walk through a meadow where large animals graze and note how the vegetation is most vigorous and green around the dung piles.
17 posted on 07/16/2013 3:16:24 PM PDT by iontheball
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To: Renfield

Interesting. Academics didn’t recognize pastoralists might have noticed that their animals’ excreta helped build soil for growing things?


18 posted on 07/16/2013 3:40:50 PM PDT by OldNewYork (Biden '13. Impeach now.)
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To: Renfield

Sounds like the “experts” need to read the literature.

Odysses’ dog Argo was sleeping on the manure pile when he returned home. My teacher explained that the soil was so thin that manure was considered important, so folks put the droppings of the sheep etc. near the king’s house.

That might be a description of dark age Greece,(800 BC,early Iron age) rather than the time Troy fell (late Bronze age, 1100BC).

As for eating beans/pulses that’s what Esau asked for when he was hungry: Pottage is a mixture of beans and grain.


19 posted on 07/16/2013 10:09:36 PM PDT by LadyDoc (liberals only love politically correct poor people)
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To: Renfield; StayAt HomeMother; Ernest_at_the_Beach; decimon; 1010RD; 21twelve; 24Karet; ...

Thanks Renfield.

20 posted on 07/16/2013 11:45:37 PM PDT by SunkenCiv (McCain or Romney would have been worse, if you're a dumb ass.)
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To: SunkenCiv

Whatever. Politicians have been using manure since the dawn of man.


21 posted on 07/17/2013 3:56:39 AM PDT by 1010RD (First, Do No Harm)
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