Manure Matters: Historical, Archaeological and Ethnographic Perspectives

Front Cover
Richard Jones
Routledge, May 13, 2016 - History - 262 pages
In pre-industrial societies, in which the majority of the population lived directly off the land, few issues were more important than the maintenance of soil fertility. Without access to biodegradable wastes from production processes or to synthetic agrochemicals, early farmers continuously developed strategies aimed at adding nutritional value to their fields using locally available natural materials. Manure really mattered, its collection/creation, storage, and spreading becoming major preoccupations for all agriculturalists no matter what environment they worked or at what period. This book brings together the work of a group of international scholars working on social, cultural, and economic issues relating to past manure and manuring. Contributors use textual, linguistic, archaeological, scientific and ethnographic evidence as the basis for their analyses. The scope of the papers is temporally and geographically broad; they span the Neolithic through to the modern period and cover studies from the Middle East, Britain and Atlantic Europe, and India. Together they allow us to explore the signatures that manure and manuring have left behind, and the vast range of attitudes that have surrounded both substance and activity in the past and present.
 

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Contents

1 Why Manure Matters
1
The Ecology of Manure in Historical Retrospect
13
Issues of Plausibility Intensity and Archaeological Method
25
4 Recycles of Life in Late Bronze Age Southern Britain
41
5 Organic Geochemical Signatures of Ancient Manure Use
61
Some Ruminations on the Evidence from Plant and Invertebrate Remains
79
7 Manure and Middens in English PlaceNames
97
8 The Formation of Anthropogenic Soils Across Three Marginal Landscapes on Fair Isle and in the Netherlands and Ireland
109
Coming to Terms with Manure in Arab Agriculture
129
10 Understanding Medieval Manure
145
Ethnographic Observations on Manuring Practices in a Mediterranean Community
159
Agricultural Knowledge and Practice on the Indian Subcontinent over the Last Two Millennia
173
Postscript
183
Bibliography
185
Index
233
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About the author (2016)

Richard Jones is Lecturer in Landscape History in the Centre for English Local History at the University of Leicester. He has published widely on settlement history, agriculture, place-naming and nature in the middle ages including The Medieval Natural World (Longman) and two co-authored books Medieval Villages in an English Landscape: Beginnings and Ends (Windgather Press) and Thorps in a Changing Landscape (University of Hertfordshire Press). He is also co-editor of Deserted Villages Revisited (University of Hertfordshire Press) and Sense of Place in Anglo-Saxon England (Shaun Tyas).

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