The Dung File consists of a list of references dealing with pollen, parasites, and plant remains in coprolites and latrine fills from archaeological and palaeoenvironmental sites. The focus is on studies in North America.

The Dung File is subdivided into eleven sections: four depend on the origin of the deposits being investigated (Part 1: Mostly Human, Part 2: Mainly Mammal, Part 3: Animal Middens, Part 4: Other Critters), there are two broader categories, Part 5: General and Review Articles, Part 6: Field and Laboratory Methods, one focussed on theses, Part 7: Theses, and two focussed on modern comparative studies, Part 8: Comparative Studies - Human and Part 9: Comparative Studies - Mammal. Finally, there are a number of articles from news magazines and the popular press (Part 10: Popular Press and Commentary) and some less readily available items listed in Part 11: Conference Abstracts and Grey Literature.

The call numbers are for the library system at the University of Alberta. The remarks in black are my comments.

Part 6: Field and Laboratory Methods


Ash, L. R., and T. C. Orihel 1987
Parasites: A Guide to Laboratory Procedures and Identification. American Society of Clinical Pathologists, Chicago, Illinois, USA xxii + 328 pp.
Laboratory techniques for extracting parasite remains from faecal material. Includes sodium hypochlorite recovery technique, formalin-ether sedimentation technique, zinc sulfate flotation technique, and Sheather's sugar flotation technique.

Chame, M. 2003
Terrestrial Mammal Feces: A Morphometric Summary and Description. Memorias do Instituto Oswaldo Cruz 98 (Suppl. 1):71- 94.
A short review of information on diet, behaviour and health that can be gathered from a study of scat, based on work primarily of wildlife biologists. Includes an extensive and useful reference list. Based on literature and fieldwork, subdivides scat into nine groups depending on shape and size. Notes that scat can distinguish animals at the Order level but is not diagnostic at genus or species level. Then includes a "field guide" to the various types, with drawings and size guides. Includes data from the Americas, Europe, and parts of Africa. (13/06/2006).

Fry, G. 1985
Analysis of Fecal Material. In The Analysis of Prehistoric Diets, edited by R. I. Gilbert Jr and J. H. Mielke, pp. 127-154. Academic Press Inc., San Diego, California, USA.
PMA ASA An 573.3 An 13 A great review paper that discusses the laboratory techniques for coprolite analysis, including the extraction of plant macroremains and parasites. Also discusses some of the major components recovered through such analyses, and briefly outlines some of the research avenues and inferences that can be made from these results (e.g., dietary studies, nutrition). Focus is on human coprolites from arid areas in western US, but techniques could be applied elsewhere.

Goodfellow, R. M., J. Cardoso, G. Eglinton, J. P. Dawson, and G. A. Best 1977
A Faecal Sterol Survey in the Clyde Estuary. Marine Pollution Bulletin 8:272-276.
AEU SCI TD 420 M338 Describes use of coprosterols (specifically coprostanol) for identifying presence of faecal material. Outlines the analytical procedures involved in the detection of coprosterols.

Horrocks, M. 2005
A Combined Procedure for Recovering Phytoliths and Starch Residues from Soils, Sedimentary Deposits and Similar Materials. Journal of Archaeological Science 32:1169-1175.
AEU HSS CC 1 J86 DOI: 10.1016/j.jas.2005.02.014 Procedure is also applicable to coprolites. Involves density separation using sodium polytungstate. Discusses the problems of simultaneous recovery of pollen and phytoliths and notes preference for doing separate pollen extraction procedure, i.e., sample needs to be split and two analyses performed. Provides a step-by-step procedure, with list of required equipment and chemicals. (20/11/2008).

Jouy-Avantine, F., A. Debenath, A. Moigne, and H. Moné 2003
A Standardized Method for the Description and the Study of Coprolites. Journal of Archaeological Science 30:367-372.
AEU HSS CC 1 J86 DOI: 10.1006/jasc.2002.0848 Propose a description sheet or record sheet for describing coprolites, especially the morphology and external appearance of the specimens. Suggest including any features of taphonomic relevance, such as presence of insect borings etc. Recommend description should include internal structure, noting presence of any visible inclusions (fur, feathers, bone fragments etc.). Sheet should also include analytical results. Objective is to identify the coprolite's producer, if possible. (24/11/2007).

Kemp, B. M., C. Monroe, and D. G. Smith 2006
Silica Extraction: A Simple Technique for the Removal of PCR Inhibitors from DNA Extracts. Journal of Archaeological Science 33:1680-1689.
AEU HSS CC 1 J86 DOI: 10.1016/j.jas.2006.02.015 Deals mostly with a review and exploration of methodology for aDNA extraction. Problem arises because various organic materials, extracted with the DNA, inhibit the PCR process and therefore do not allow amplification and analysis of the aDNA. Tested a new method of purification which removes all inhibitors. Test performed on samples from 5 human ribs from Windover site in Florida, dating to 7000 - 8000 yr BP, and 8 human coprolite samples from Fish Slough Cave, northern Owen's Valley, California, where the cave was in use between 700 and 2000 yr BP. Despite purification, the Windover samples did not yield analyzable DNA, possibly because the samples are simply too old. However, the process did yield analyzable DNA from all coprolite samples. One coprolite yielded DNA that appeared to be related to modern contamination. Others yielded DNA with haplogroups C or D, consistent with assignment to Native Americans. (09/11/2008).

Kemp, R. L., M. W. Sloss, and A. Zajac 1994
Veterinary Clinical Parasitology. 6th edition. Iowa State University Press, Ames, Iowa, USA x + 198 pp.
AEU SCI SF 810 A3 B45 Contains information on the zinc sulfate and Sheather's sugar flotation technique for extracting parasite remains from faecal material. Techniques are described pp. 1 - 24.

Martínez, E. M., J. A. S. Correia, E. V. Villela, A. N. Duarte, L. F. Ferreira, and A. R. Bello 2003
Random Amplified Polymorphic DNA Analysis of DNA Extracted from Trichuris trichiura (Linnaeus, 1771) Eggs and its Prospective Application to Paleoparasitological Studies. Memorias do Instituto Oswaldo Cruz 98 (Suppl. 1):59- 62.
Paper mainly concerns recommendation for a protocol to extract DNA from Trichuris eggs from fresh human faeces. Managed to derive specific biomarkers that may be useful for archaeological materials. (11/11/2007).

Schelvis, J. 1992
The Identification of Archaeological Dung Deposits on the Basis of Remains of Predatory Mites (Acari; Gamisida). Journal of Archaeological Science 19:677-682.
AEU HSS CC 1 J86 Paper discusses the potential of a new indicator group. Predatory mites infest dunghills. Showed that mite species tend to show preferences for particular species of dung, and therefore can act as good indicators. Examined dung from major domestic animals (cattle, sheep, horse, pig, and chickens). Used 12 medieval samples from northern Netherlands as a test. Was able to identify several sites containing dung, and one with probable horse dung (a reasonable inference given the archaeological context of this site). Points out that this may be able to indicate which animals lived at a site as opposed to which were being brought to the site (e.g., by hunting). (14/04/2002).

Van Cleave, H. J., and J. A. Ross 1947
A Method for Reclaiming Dried Zoological Specimens. Science 105:318.
AEU SCI Q 1 S41 A widely-cited paper describing a technique applied to preparation of coprolite specimens. Uses a dilute solution of trisodium phosphate, often known as TSP, Na3PO4. Notes that solution works better when slightly warmed. (11/04/2009).

van Geel, B. 1986
Application of Fungal and Algal Remains and Other Microfossils in Palynological Analyses. In Handbook of Holocene Palaeoecology and Palaeohydrology, edited by B. E. Berglund, pp. 497-505. Wiley, Chichester, England, UK.
Mentions the occurrence of spores of Sordariaceae, coprophilous fungi, in pollen preparations. Notes that some of these taxa may be only found on dung of one or a few types of animal, hence good indicators. Illustrates some types.

van Geel, B., J. Buurman, O. Brinkkemper, J. Schelvis, A. Aptroot, G. van Reenen, and T. Hakbijl 2003
Environmental Reconstruction of a Roman Period Settlement Site in Uitgeest (The Netherlands), With Special Reference to Coprophilous Fungi. Journal of Archaeological Science 30:873-883.
AEU HSS CC 1 J86 DOI: 10.1016/S0305- 4403(02)00265-0 Studied still-preserved turf surfaces of sods which were used to line wells on a sandy ridge, a settlement, surrounded by lowlands (salt marshes) used for grazing cattle and other animals. Looked at macros and pollen. Pollen shows open treeless landscape. Contained fungal spores indicative of dung, notably: Sporormiella-type, Podospora-type, Cercophora-type, Sordaria-type, and Tripterospora-type. Also found Trichuris (parasite) eggs, dung-associated beetle remains (such as Aphodius), and dung-related mite taxa. Fungal spores are usually not transported far, so indicate local prescence of grazing animals. Contains useful plates showing the various spore types and descriptions. (27/12/2007).

Warnock, P., and K. J. Reinhard 1992
Methods of Extracting Pollen and Parasite Eggs from Latrine Soils. Journal of Archaeological Science 19:261-264.
AEU PMC CC 1 J86 Samples processed similarly to standard pollen analysis (but omitting initial NaOH or KOH wash) until after heavy liquid treatment but before acetolysis (which destroys the parasite eggs). At this stage, subsample for parasite eggs removed and placed in glass vial with glycerol. Treatment completed on pollen subsample (acetolysis and hydroxide wash).

Williams, O. B. 1969
An Improved Technique for Identification of Plant Fragments in Herbivore Feces. Journal of Range Management 22(1):51-52.
AEU SCI SF 85 A1 J8 Describes the laboratory procedure for extracting, bleaching, staining and mounting plant material from faecal samples. Uses safranin as the stain. Entire processing time is about two weeks for a batch of slides, including ten days for impregnation with the stain. Histological analyis technique, i.e., used for examination of cell and tissue structure. (11/04/2009).

Number of citations: 15


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Field and Laboratory Methods
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This presentation has been compiled and is © 1998-2013 by
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