Micromorphology proves the penning of domesticated sheep and goat in Moroccan Early Neolithic deposits during the middle of the 8th millennium calBP
The coastal site of Ifri Oudadane is one of the most important sites in the Mediterranean Maghreb. Recent excavations have provided a stratigraphy featuring the transition from Epipalaeolithic hunter-gatherers to Neolithic food producers.
To describe the nature of the deposits in detail and to determine clear sedimentological boundaries, several micromorphology samples were taken. Within the Early Neolithic deposits coprolites and calcite spherulites testify to the penning of ovicaprides inside the shelter. These sedimentological results could be confirmed by archaeozoological analyses. Furthermore, micromorphological thin sections attest to a change of fuel sources during the transition. Radiocarbon analyses date this change to approx. 7600 calBP. Because of the excellent results, micromorphology samples were also taken from the cave sediments of Ifri n'Etsedda, Ifri n'Ammar and from archaeological open-air sites embedded in the alluvial deposits of the lower Moulouya valley.
Herbivore coprolite composed of plant residues (p) and amorphous organic matter, calcite spherulites (frame width 0.58 mm).
Photo: Martin Kehl