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In this paper, first results comparing modified Longin and ninhydrin collagen extraction methodologies are presented. The goal of this study is to investigate the bones of several species with different ages, preservation conditions, and collagen contents to determine the most suitable preparation method. Different types of samples are used such as VIRI samples, previously dated bones, and background samples. Each bone has undergone elemental analysis, infrared analysis, and 14C measurement. The results are presented and the advantages and disadvantages of each preparation method are discussed. In general, results obtained by the two methods are in accordance with the consensus value for 2σ uncertainty. For VIRI I and a mammoth bone, the ninhydrin preparation gives, respectively, 8450±70 BP and 14,870±60 BP whereas the modified Longin process gives 8365±45 BP and 14,750±100 BP in agreement with the expected values. From the experimental point of view, the modified Longin process is easier to implement than the ninhydrin protocol. From this approach, we can conclude that the modified Longin process could be preferred in most cases and particularly when the amount of bone is small and the sample is not too contaminated.
The Grotte Cosquer (southeastern France) is a Paleolithic painted cave only accessible by a deep-water dive. The cave has yielded numerous Paleolithic engravings and drawings, which were produced from wood charcoal. This article presents new radiocarbon dates obtained on samples collected in 2012 directly on 17 parietal representations and at the soil surface, and discusses the 14C results obtained since the discovery of the cave in 1992. A total of 41 samples were dated with ages ranging from 33,000 to 20,000 cal BP. They show that the cave was intermittently decorated over about 10,000 yr.
Despite the extensive literature assessing associations between religiosity/spirituality and health, few studies have investigated the clinical applicability of this evidence. The purpose of this paper was to assess the impact of religious/spiritual interventions (RSI) through randomized clinical trials (RCTs).
A systematic review was performed in the following databases: PubMed, Scopus, Web of Science, PsycINFO, Cochrane Collaboration, Embase and SciELO. Through the use of a Boolean expression, articles were included if they: (i) investigated mental health outcomes; (ii) had a design consistent with RCTs. We excluded protocols involving intercessory prayer or distance healing. The study was conducted in two phases by reading: (1) title and abstracts; (2) full papers and assessing their methodological quality. Then, a meta-analysis was carried out.
Through this method, 4751 papers were obtained, of which 23 remained included. The meta-analysis showed significant effects of RSI on anxiety general symptoms (p < 0.001) and in subgroups: meditation (p < 0.001); psychotherapy (p = 0.02); 1 month of follow-up (p < 0.001); and comparison groups with interventions (p < 0.001). Two significant differences were found in depressive symptoms: between 1 and 6 months and comparison groups with interventions (p = 0.05). In general, studies have shown that RSI decreased stress, alcoholism and depression.
RCTs on RSI showed additional benefits including reduction of clinical symptoms (mainly anxiety). The diversity of protocols and outcomes associated with a lack of standardization of interventions point to the need for further studies evaluating the use of religiosity/spirituality as a complementary treatment in health care.
The Chauvet-Pont d'Arc Cave is one of the most important sites for the study of the earliest manifestations and development of prehistoric art at the beginning of the Upper Paleolithic. Different dating techniques have been performed thus far (AMS 14C, U/Th TIMS, 36Cl dating) to model the chronological framework of this decorated cave. The cave yielded several large charcoal fragments, which enabled the opportunity for obtaining multiple dates; thus, a First Radiocarbon Intercomparison Program (FIP) was initiated in 2004 using three charcoal pieces. The FIP demonstrated that those cross-dated samples belonged to a time period associated with the first human occupation. One of the statistical interests of an intercomparison program is to reduce the uncertainty on the sample age; thus, to further assess the accuracy of the chronological framework, the Second Intercomparison Program (SIP) involving 10 international 14C laboratories was carried out on two pieces of charcoal found inside two hearth structures of the Galerie des Mégacéros. Each laboratory used its own pretreatment and AMS facilities. In total, 21 and 22 measurements were performed, respectively, which yielded consistent results averaging ∼32 ka BP. Two strategies have currently been developed to identify statistical outliers and to deal with them; both lead to quasi-identical calibrated combined densities. Finally, the new results were compared with those of the FIP, leading to the important conclusion that five different samples from at least three different hearth structures give really tightened temporal densities, associated with one short human occupation in the Galerie des Mégacéros.
The Laboratoire des Sciences du Climat et de l'Environnement (LSCE) research program on prehistoric art conducts chronological studies of parietal representations with their associated archaeological context. This multidisciplinary approach provides chronological arguments about the creation period of parietal representations. This article presents chronological investigations carried out in several decorated caves in France (La Grande Grotte, Labastide, Lascaux, La Tête-du-Lion, Villars) and Spain (La Garma, Nerja, La Pileta, Urdiales). Several types of organic materials, collected from different areas of the caves close to the walls and in connection with parietal art, were dated to determine the periods of human presence in the cave, a presence that may have been related to artistic activities. These new radiocarbon results range from 33,000–29,000 (La Grande Grotte) to 16,000–14,000 cal BP (Urdiales).
The Aurignacian, traditionally regarded as marking the beginnings of Sapiens in Europe, is notoriously hard to date, being almost out of reach of radiocarbon. Here the authors return to the stratified sequence in the Franchthi Cave, chronicle its lithic and shell ornament industries and, by dating humanly-modified material, show that Franchthi was occupied either side of the Campagnian Ignimbrite super-eruption around 40000 years ago. Along with other results, this means that groups of Early Upper Palaeolithic people were active outside the Danube corridor and Western Europe, and probably in contact with each other over long distances.
Lascaux Cave is renowned for its outstanding prehistoric paintings, strikingly well-preserved over about 18,000 yr. While stalagmites and stalactites are almost absent in the cave, there is an extensive calcite flowstone that covered a large part of the cave until its opening for tourists during the 1950s. The deposit comprises a succession of calcite rims, or “gours,” which allowed seepage water to pond in large areas in the cave. Their possible role in preservation of the cave paintings has often been evoked, but until now this deposit has not been studied in detail. Here, we present 24 new radiocarbon accelerator mass spectrometry (AMS) and 6 uranium-thorium (U-Th) analyses from the calcite of the gours, 4 AMS 14C dates from charcoals trapped in the calcite, and 4 AMS 14C analyses on organic matter extracted from the calcite. Combining the calibrated 14C ages obtained on charcoals and organic matter and U-Th ages from 14C analyses made on the carbonate, has allowed the calculation of the dead carbon proportion (dcp) of the carbonate deposits. The latter, used with the initial atmospheric 14C activities reconstructed with the new IntCal09 calibration data, allows high-resolution age estimation of the gour calcite samples and their growth rates. The carbonate deposit grew between 9530 and 6635 yr cal BP (for dcp = 10.7 ± 1.8%; 2 σ) or between 8518 and 5489 yr cal BP (for dcp = 20.5 ± 1.9%; 2 σ). This coincides with humid periods that can be related to the Atlantic period in Europe and to Sapropel 1 in the eastern Mediterranean Sea. However, geomorphological changes at the cave entrance might also have played a role in the gour development. In the 1940s, when humans entered the cave for the first time since its prehistoric occupation, the calcite gours had already been inactive for several thousand years.
In this paper, we explain our routine pretreatment of bone for radiocarbon dating by accelerator mass spectrometry (AMS), based on the specific reaction between amino acids and ninhydrin described by Nelson (1991). The values and uncertainties of the total system background are presented as a function of the carbon sample mass and the reliability of this method is discussed.
Direct dating, using the Accelerator Mass Spectrometry (AMS) 14C method, of a wooden moai kavakava (anthropomorphic woodcarving) in the collection of the Royal Museums of Art and History in Brussels has given a date of about cal AD 1390–1480. As there are reasons to believe that this age not only regards the raw material but also the carving itself, preserved examples of Easter Island wood sculpture may be much older than previously assumed and possibly contemporaneous with the giant monolithic sculpture of the first half of the 2nd millennium AD.
Advances in radiocarbon dating by accelerator mass spectrometry (AMS) have made it possible to date prehistoric cave paintings by sampling the pigment itself instead of relying on dates derived from miscellaneous prehistoric remains recovered in the vicinity of the paintings. The work at the Laboratoire des Sciences du Climat et de l'Environnement (LSCE) concentrated on prehistoric charcoal cave paintings from southern France and northern Spain. In most caves, pigment samples were collected from several paintings, and in some instances the sample size allowed for multiple independent measurements on the same figure, so that the coherence of the calculated dates could be tested. Before being dated, each specimen was subjected to a thermal treatment preceded by an acid and basic treatment of intensity commensurate with the sample size.
Nine bison drawings from three caves in the Cantabrian region of Spain—two from Covaciella, three from Altamira, and four from El Castillo—were sampled and dated. The 27 dates fell between 13,000 and 14,500 BP, allowing us to attribute the drawings to the Magdalenian period. The 24 dates for 13 drawings in the Cosquer cave indicated two distinct periods of painting activity—one around 28,000 BP and the other around 19,000 BP. The Chauvet cave paintings turned out to be the oldest recorded to date, as five dates fell between 32,000 and 31,000 BP. After discussing the sample preparation protocol in more detail, we will discuss the ages obtained and compare them with other chronological data.
The hunting methods of the Neanderthals are rarely evident in detail in the archaeological record. Here, the rare and important discovery of a fragment of broken Levallois point, embedded in the neck-bones of a wild ass, provokes plenty of discussion of the methods of hafting and killing game in the Middle Palaeolithic of Syria.
We report the results of a collaborative linkage study using 12 polymorphic markers (9 loci) from the long arm of chromosome 11, and 24 families multiply affected with schizophrenia and other closely related disorders. This region is of interest because several families have been reported in which balanced translocations involving 11q apparently co-segregate with psychotic illness. In addition, the dopamine D2 receptor, porphobilinogen deaminase, and tyrosinase genes map within the region studied and may be aetiologically involved in schizophrenia. We have primarily analysed genotypic data by the LOD score method using a range of single gene models. In order to minimize error due to mis-specification of genetic parameters we have analysed data from markers at candidate gene loci by the non-parametric extended sib-pair method in addition to the LOD score method. Our results suggest that most of the region can be excluded from containing a gene of major effect in the aetiology of this disease.