Photo courtesy of Veronica Kalas

Dozens of small, loaf-shaped pigeon cotes are cut into the wall of one room (upper right) lining the second courtyard of the Selime 7 complex. Cappadocia’s farmers harvested pigeon guano to fertilize the region’s dry, dusty soil. In the past, scholars assumed that such pigeon cotes were post-Byzantine additions to Cappadocian complexes. But recent surveys of Selime 7 indicate that its pigeon cotes form an architectural unit with other structures in the complex and thus were contemporaneous with the Byzantine occupancy.