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The contents of a pit located in the centre of a large communal structure at Asiab in the central Zagros mountains provides rare evidence for ritual food practices during the Early Neolithic (~9660–9300 cal. bc). This pit contained the skulls of at least 19 wild boars carefully placed inside and subsequently sealed. Antler from red deer and the skull of a brown bear were also concealed within the pit. The boars included both male and female animals varying in age and some of the larger canines were deliberately removed. Such a unique collection of remains is unlikely to be the result of day-to-day activities; instead, this represents a group of ritually interred bones. This new evidence strengthens views that activities reinforcing social cohesion were important as human society was approaching a juncture leading towards agricultural subsistence strategies.
The site of Tappeh Asiab in Iran is one of only a handful of Early Neolithic sites known from the Zagros Mountains. Discovered during Robert Braidwood's ‘Iranian Prehistory’ project, the site has seen limited publication of its early excavations. Here, the authors challenge some of the initial assumptions made about the site by discussing the first findings of renewed excavations, in the hope of substantially improving our currently limited knowledge of the Early Neolithic in this region.
Recent fieldwork in the Black Desert of northeast Jordan has revealed a hitherto unknown concentration of late Epipalaeolithic and early Neolithic sites. Collectively, these Natufian and Pre-Pottery Neolithic A settlements highlight that the now arid steppe and desert zone of the eastern Levant was not a remote backwater, but was intensively occupied by southwest Asia's last hunting and gathering communities. These communities were able to take advantage of a favourable hydrological situation, which fed seasonal rainwater into playas/lakes/wetlands around which settlements were concentrated. This evidence suggests that the emergence of the Natufian was a complex process. A mosaic of late Epipalaeolithic groups inhabited a wide ranging area of the Levant, across which they maintained strong social, economic and cultural links.
The Pre-Pottery Neolithic A (PPNA; c. 9600–8500 cal BC)
period in the Levant provides the earliest confirmed evidence for plant
cultivation anywhere in the world, marking a significant escalation in the
human management of plants towards fully fledged agricultural food
production. Until now, the majority of PPNA sites have been documented in
the Jordan Valley, the Wadi Araba and farther north along the Upper
Euphrates (e.g. Mureybet, Jerf el-Ahmar, Djade). By contrast, few PPNA sites
have so far been reported from the semi-arid to arid eastern part of the
Levantine interior. Among these is El Aoui Safa (Coqueugniot & Anderson
1996) and sporadic flint scatters elsewhere in the Harra.
Recent fieldwork in the Qa’ Shubayqa area in the Harra has
produced the first evidence for a more substantial settlement site in this
Establishing local coherence relations is central to text comprehension. Positive-causal coherence relations link a cause and its consequence, whereas negative-causal coherence relations add a contrastive meaning (negation) to the causal link. According to the cumulative cognitive complexity approach, negative-causal coherence relations are cognitively more complex than positive-causal ones. Therefore, they require greater cognitive effort during text comprehension and are acquired later in language development. The present cross-sectional study tested these predictions for German primary school children from Grades 1 to 4 and adults in reading and listening comprehension. Accuracy data in a semantic verification task support the predictions of the cumulative cognitive complexity approach. Negative-causal coherence relations are cognitively more demanding than positive-causal ones. Moreover, our findings indicate that children's comprehension of negative-causal coherence relations continues to develop throughout the course of primary school. Findings are discussed with respect to the generalizability of the cumulative cognitive complexity approach to German.
This experimental study presents a comparison of differently tensile stressed silicon nitride (SiN) layers and their response to irradiation in a vacuum ultraviolet (VUV) curing system. Therefore, three types of silicon nitride with initial stress levels of 450 MPa, 700 MPa and 980 MPa were deposited by plasma enhanced chemical vapor deposition (PECVD). In contrast to industrial standard VUV curing with broadband lamps ≥ 220 nm radiation wavelengths, we analyzed the effects of curing with single wavelengths at 172 nm and 222 nm. The samples were characterized by Fourier Transform Infrared Spectroscopy, ellipsometry, and wafer bow measurement. It could be shown that high energy photons are able to dehydrogenize SiN films more than lower energetic photons compared with lower Si-N-Si crosslinking effects. Furthermore, we could show that a dual combined 172 nm and 222 nm VUV curing procedure can produce films with very low hydrogen concentration and high percentage of structural units consisting of Si-N-Si bonds. In conclusion of this study, an up to +900 MPa stress increasing process could be established.
Light trapping due to rough transparent conductive oxide (TCO) surfaces is a common and industrially applied technique in thin film silicon solar cells. In this study, we demonstrate a novel light trapping solution using electrochemically deposited, highly doped zinc oxide (ZnO) nanorod arrays which goes beyond standard light management concepts. The n-doped ZnO rods enable the application as front electrode in superstrate configuration. We explain our experimental results by multidimensional solar cell simulations and show how the nanorod array geometry influences the cell performance. The requirement is demonstrated to choose an appropriate average nanorod distance which strongly influences the electrical cell characteristics. The results clearly outline the potential of TCO nanorod technology for enhanced light trapping.
Wetlands are a key archive for paleoclimatic and archeological work, particularly in arid regions, as they provide a focus for human occupation and preserve environmental information. The sedimentary record from 'Ayn Qasiyya, a spring site on the edge of the Azraq Qa, provides a well-dated sequence through the last glacial–interglacial transition (LGIT) allowing environmental changes in the present-day Jordanian desert to be investigated robustly through this time period for the first time. Results show that the wettest period at the site preceded the last glacial maximum, which itself was characterised by marsh formation and a significant Early Epipaleolithic occupation. A sedimentary hiatus between 16 and 10.5 ka suggests a period of drought in the region although seasonal rains and surface waters still allowed seasonal occupation of the Azraq region. Archeological evidence suggests that conditions had improved by the Late Epipaleolithic, about the time of the North Atlantic Younger Dryas. The changes between wet and dry conditions at the site show similarities to patterns in the eastern Mediterranean and in Arabia suggesting the Jordan interior was influenced by changes in both these regions through the LGIT climatic transition.
This article discusses social interaction in the Epipalaeolithic of southwest Asia. Discussions of contact, social relationships and social organization have primarily focused on the Pre-Pottery Neolithic and are often considered to represent typical hallmarks of emergent farming societies. The hunter-gatherers of the final Pleistocene, in particular those of the Early and Middle Epipalaeolithic, have more rarely been the focus of such discussions. In this article we consider evidence for interaction from the Azraq Basin of eastern Jordan, to question the uniqueness of the Neolithic evidence for interaction. We argue that interaction between differently-constituted groups can be traced within the Early Epipalaeolithic of the southern Levant, suggesting that it is of far greater antiquity than previously considered.
The Bundesverfassungsgericht (Federal Constitutional Court) is a constitutional body charged with the task of ensuring that all state institutions, i.e. the legislator as well as the judiciary and executive branches, obey the constitution of the Federal Republic of Germany. Its review standard is the Grundgesetz (Basic Law). Since its foundation in 1951, the Court has helped to secure respect and effectiveness for the free democratic constitutional order. The decisions have far-reaching repercussions, which becomes particularly clear when the Court declares a law unconstitutional. Given the large number of cases handed down every year – at present nearly 5,000 constitutional complaints come before the Federal Constitutional Court annually – it is nearly impossible to give a representative summary of the comprehensive case law. Therefore, the report will concentrate on a selection of four decisions that have drawn the most attention over the course of the years 2005 and 2006.