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Title: Distinguishing between sheep and goat in archaeological fumiers through faecal lipid biomarkers: The case of Belmaco Cave (Canary Islands, Spain)
Authors: Fernández-Palacios, Enrique
Herrera-Herrera, Antonio V.
Gilson, Simon-Pierre Noël R 
Égüez, Natalia
Jambrina-Enríquez, Margarita
Santana Cabrera, Jonathan Alberto 
Mallol, Carolina
UNESCO Clasification: 550501 Arqueología
2401 Biología animal (zoología)
Keywords: Bile Acids
Faecal Biomarkers
Stanols, et al
Issue Date: 2023
Journal: Quaternary International 
Abstract: Lipid biomarker analysis focused on steroids has shown to have great potential for discriminating between animal faecal inputs in archaeology. This is particularly interesting when applied to stabling deposits to assess herding strategies and livestock composition. Here we present the results of a sedimentary faecal biomarker study conducted at Belmaco Cave, a pre-European archaeological site in La Palma (Canary Islands). The site was occupied by indigenous pastoralist groups over the course of five centuries prior to the first arrival of the Europeans in the 15th century. Previous soil micromorphological data indicates recurrent sheep and/or goat penning and periodic burning of the pen in the central area of the cave. We selected bulk sediment samples from unburned, charred and ashed dung layers and carried out sterol, stanol and bile acid analysis. Our results suggest that the main source of faecal matter is sheep. We also found that even though charred and dung ash layers contained lower concentrations of the biomarker compounds, these were still sufficient to provide information on the origin of the faecal remains. These data add to our current knowledge of the aboriginal Canary Island pastoralist economy.
ISSN: 1040-6182
DOI: 10.1016/j.quaint.2023.08.012
Source: Quaternary International [ISSN 1040-6182], (Septiembre 2023)
Appears in Collections:Artículo preliminar
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