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PubMed | St. Mary's University, San Francisco State University, French Natural History Museum, National History Museum of Romania and 4 more.
Type: Historical Article | Journal: Philosophical transactions of the Royal Society of London. Series B, Biological sciences | Year: 2014

Current evidence suggests that pigs were first domesticated in Eastern Anatolia during the ninth millennium cal BC before dispersing into Europe with Early Neolithic farmers from the beginning of the seventh millennium. Recent ancient DNA (aDNA) research also indicates the incorporation of European wild boar into domestic stock during the Neolithization process. In order to establish the timing of the arrival of domestic pigs into Europe, and to test hypotheses regarding the role European wild boar played in the domestication process, we combined a geometric morphometric analysis (allowing us to combine tooth size and shape) of 449 Romanian ancient teeth with aDNA analysis. Our results firstly substantiate claims that the first domestic pigs in Romania possessed the same mtDNA signatures found in Neolithic pigs in west and central Anatolia. Second, we identified a significant proportion of individuals with large molars whose tooth shape matched that of archaeological (likely) domestic pigs. These large domestic shape specimens were present from the outset of the Romanian Neolithic (6100-5500 cal BC) through to later prehistory, suggesting a long history of admixture between introduced domestic pigs and local wild boar. Finally, we confirmed a turnover in mitochondrial lineages found in domestic pigs, possibly coincident with human migration into Anatolia and the Levant that occurred in later prehistory.


Balta Z.I.,National History Museum of Romania | Csedreki L.,Hungarian Academy of Sciences | Furu E.,Hungarian Academy of Sciences | Cretu I.,National Art Museum of Romania | And 5 more authors.
Nuclear Instruments and Methods in Physics Research, Section B: Beam Interactions with Materials and Atoms | Year: 2015

In this study, metal threads from Romanian religious embroideries and precious velvet brocades dated from 15th to 18th century were analyzed by using IBA methods (PIXE and RBS) which, in comparison to the traditional analytical techniques (XRF, EDS), allowed the detection of their structures and accurate identification of the trace elements (detection limits of few tens of ppm). PIXE results confirmed that both types of the metal threads studied - wires and strips - have layered structures being made of fine silver, refined by cupellation, and gilded most probably with pure gold, and not of Au-Ag alloy, or gilded Ag-Cu alloy or Au-Ag-Cu alloy, as resulted from the previously performed SEM-EDS analysis. Trace elements of historical interest like lead, mercury and bismuth have been also possible to be detected by PIXE. The resulting elemental maps allowed us to identify the areas from which the metal thread structure and quantitative composition could be accurately determined. RBS measurements revealed that the gilding layer is separated from the silver bulk by an interface layer resulting through atomic diffusion of silver into the gold, which lead to the conclusion that the methods used for gilding were probably either the diffusion bonding or the fire gilding. The gilding layers thicknesses were estimated by PIXE with the GUPIX software and also determined from RBS measurements. © 2015 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.


Hervella M.,University of the Basque Country | Rotea M.,National History Museum of Transylvania | Izagirre N.,University of the Basque Country | Constantinescu M.,Romanian Academy of Sciences | And 8 more authors.
PLoS ONE | Year: 2015

The importance of the process of Neolithization for the genetic make-up of European populations has been hotly debated, with shifting hypotheses from a demic diffusion (DD) to a cultural diffusion (CD) model. In this regard, ancient DNA data from the Balkan Peninsula, which is an important source of information to assess the process of Neolithization in Europe, is however missing. In the present study we show genetic information on ancient populations of the South-East of Europe. We assessed mtDNA from ten sites from the current territory of Romania, spanning a time-period from the Early Neolithic to the Late Bronze Age. mtDNA data from Early Neolithic farmers of the Starčevo Criş culture in Romania (Cârcea, Gura Baciului and Negrileşti sites), confirm their genetic relationship with those of the LBK culture (Linienbandkeramik Kultur) in Central Europe, and they show little genetic continuity with modern European populations. On the other hand, populations of the Middle-Late Neolithic (Boian, Zau and Gumelniţa cultures), supposedly a second wave of Neolithic migration from Anatolia, had a much stronger effect on the genetic heritage of the European populations. In contrast, we find a smaller contribution of Late Bronze Age migrations to the genetic composition of Europeans. Based on these findings, we propose that permeation of mtDNA lineages from a second wave of Middle-Late Neolithic migration from North-West Anatolia into the Balkan Peninsula and Central Europe represent an important contribution to the genetic shift between Early and Late Neolithic populations in Europe, and consequently to the genetic make-up of modern European populations. © 2015 Hervella et al. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.


Evin A.,University of Aberdeen | Evin A.,French National Center for Scientific Research | Flink L.G.,University of Aberdeen | Flink L.G.,Durham University | And 15 more authors.
Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences | Year: 2015

Current evidence suggests that pigs were first domesticated in Eastern Anatolia during the ninth millennium cal BC before dispersing into Europe with Early Neolithic farmers from the beginning of the seventh millennium. Recent ancient DNA (aDNA) research also indicates the incorporation of European wild boar into domestic stock during the Neolithization process. In order to establish the timing of the arrival of domestic pigs into Europe, and to test hypotheses regarding the role European wild boar played in the domestication process, we combined a geometric morphometric analysis (allowing us to combine tooth size and shape) of 449 Romanian ancient teeth with aDNA analysis. Our results firstly substantiate claims that the first domestic pigs in Romania possessed the same mtDNA signatures found in Neolithic pigs in west and central Anatolia. Second, we identified a significant proportion of individuals with large molars whose tooth shape matched that of archaeological (likely) domestic pigs. These large ‘domestic shape’ specimens were present from the outset of the Romanian Neolithic (6100–5500 cal BC) through to later prehistory, suggesting a long history of admixture between introduced domestic pigs and local wild boar. Finally, we confirmed a turnover in mitochondrial lineages found in domestic pigs, possibly coincident with human migration into Anatolia and the Levant that occurred in later prehistory. © 2014 The Author(s) Published by the Royal Society. All rights reserved.


PubMed | Oltenia Museum Craiova, National History Museum of Romania, Romanian Academy of Sciences, National History Museum of Transylvania and 2 more.
Type: Journal Article | Journal: PloS one | Year: 2015

The importance of the process of Neolithization for the genetic make-up of European populations has been hotly debated, with shifting hypotheses from a demic diffusion (DD) to a cultural diffusion (CD) model. In this regard, ancient DNA data from the Balkan Peninsula, which is an important source of information to assess the process of Neolithization in Europe, is however missing. In the present study we show genetic information on ancient populations of the South-East of Europe. We assessed mtDNA from ten sites from the current territory of Romania, spanning a time-period from the Early Neolithic to the Late Bronze Age. mtDNA data from Early Neolithic farmers of the Starevo Cri culture in Romania (Crcea, Gura Baciului and Negrileti sites), confirm their genetic relationship with those of the LBK culture (Linienbandkeramik Kultur) in Central Europe, and they show little genetic continuity with modern European populations. On the other hand, populations of the Middle-Late Neolithic (Boian, Zau and Gumelnia cultures), supposedly a second wave of Neolithic migration from Anatolia, had a much stronger effect on the genetic heritage of the European populations. In contrast, we find a smaller contribution of Late Bronze Age migrations to the genetic composition of Europeans. Based on these findings, we propose that permeation of mtDNA lineages from a second wave of Middle-Late Neolithic migration from North-West Anatolia into the Balkan Peninsula and Central Europe represent an important contribution to the genetic shift between Early and Late Neolithic populations in Europe, and consequently to the genetic make-up of modern European populations.


Cucchi T.,French Natural History Museum | Cucchi T.,University of Aberdeen | Balasescu A.,National History Museum of Romania | Bem C.,National History Museum of Romania | And 3 more authors.
Holocene | Year: 2011

The house mouse invasion of the European continent has crucial implications for our understanding of the synanthropization process of European small mammals during the Holocene. Mice remains collected from a Chalcolithic burnt house in southern Romania, provided a unique opportunity to document which of the two house mouse subspecies was the commensal taxa of the late Neolithic Romania and question the factors of its invasive process. To obtain the subspecific status of the Mus remains, we performed molar shape analysis with geometric morphometrics, using 160 specimens sampling the extant Eastern European Mus taxa as modern comparatives. Along with an overwhelming majority of eastern house mice (Mus musculus musculus) living constantly in the Chalcolithic house, indigenous small mammals (common hamster, field mice, voles and white toothed shrews) were also occupying the settlement sporadically, highlighting the antiquity of the synanthropisation of European small mammals. This secured occurrence of the eastern house mouse in late Neolithic Romania, led us to propose two testable research hypotheses: first, an eastern house mouse commensalism center in Eastern Europe happening during the sixth millennium BC, when neolithization reached the natural distribution of free living populations of Mus musculus musculus in the Pontic steppes of Ukraine; second, new trajectories of trading networks, stimulated by copper metallurgy around the fifth millennium BC, having allowed long-distance translocation of the commensal eastern house mouse from Eastern to Southern Europe Neolithic settlements. © SAGE Publications 2011.


Constantinescu B.,Horia Hulubei National Institute of Physics and Nuclear Engineering | Vasilescu A.,Horia Hulubei National Institute of Physics and Nuclear Engineering | Stan D.,Horia Hulubei National Institute of Physics and Nuclear Engineering | Radtke M.,BAM Federal Institute of Materials Research and Testing | And 4 more authors.
Journal of Analytical Atomic Spectrometry | Year: 2012

This paper is an overview of the work developed by our group in the investigations of museum objects and alluvial gold, reflected in a series of studies published between 2000-2011, supplemented with new results, unpublished up-to-date. The X-ray based spectrometric techniques employed range from various X-Ray Fluorescence (XRF) investigations to ion beam analysis, including synchrotron radiation XRF and micro-Particle Induced X-ray Emission. The gold objects discussed are mainly part of the Sarmizegetusa Dacian hoards - spiraled bracelets (armbands) and coins. After obtaining in 2011 the permission of the Romanian authorities to take very small (1-2 mg) samples from the most "unimportant" areas of the Dacian bracelets and several Koson staters, to analyze them by micro-SR-XRF at BESSY, in February 2012, the investigation of several micro-areas of 17 stater and 28 bracelet samples revealed important micro-structural inhomogeneity, especially in Sn and Cu. The same inhomogeneous micro-structure has been seen in Transylvanian alluvial gold. The analyses revealed details on the fingerprint of geological gold deposits and also the main characteristics of ancient gold metallurgy procedures used by the Dacians: a relatively low temperature (lower than Au melting point) and hammering during heating to obtain an ingot through sintering. The use of the sintering procedure was proved for the spiraled bracelets and the Koson without monogram coins, a tradition starting in the Bronze Age in Transylvanian gold processing. The existence of micro-inclusions of Ta-minerals in alluvial gold was also detected, explaining Ta trace presence in the artifacts from the Pietroasa hoard. © 2012 The Royal Society of Chemistry.


Teodor A.,University of Architecture and Urbanism, Bucharest | Teodor E.S.,National History Museum of Romania | Florea M.S.,National History Museum of Romania | Popescu M.A.,National History Museum of Romania
International Archives of the Photogrammetry, Remote Sensing and Spatial Information Sciences - ISPRS Archives | Year: 2011

The paper presents in detail the method used to acquire 2D and 3D representations for the Large Tower of the Roman fortress from Noviodunum (Isaccea, Tulcea County). The available implements were a total station, a digital camera and some software for handling data. The method is not new by any rate, but well fitted to the aims - recording archaeological data on ruined but massif walls, with rough surfaces - and with a limited budget. Lately considered as a low cost procedure, laser scanning is still costly and rare in some East-European countries. Our method, as simple as it is, provides reliable data as a 3D survey, along texture details, at the lowest price, on unfinished fieldwork, preserving and picturing a stage of knowledge about the site and the architectural bodies.


Balasescu A.,National History Museum of Romania
Anthropozoologica | Year: 2014

A large number of animal remains (186 pieces) were accidentally discovered in 2008, during construction works on a private property in Agighiol village (Tulcea County), in an area previously unknown to have archaeological relevance. This material led to the identification of camel remains (155 bones), an exceptional result because camel material had been previously reported from only two other localities in Romania, both of them in Romano-Byzantine archaeological sites from Dobruja (9-12th centuries). Two 14C dates obtained on the camel remains from Agighiol place the animals in the Middle Ages, 17-18th centuries, thus relating the presence of camels to Ottoman Turk influences. We review the archaeological record of camels from Roman until Ottoman times, in Romania and surrounding countries. Camels were encountered in Dobruja up to the end of the 19th century and the beginning of the 20th century, as proven by old photographs. © Publications Scientifiques du Muséum national d'Histoire naturelle, Paris.


Gillis R.,CNRS MNHN | Brehard S.,CNRS MNHN | Balasescu A.,National History Museum of Romania | Ughetto-Monfrin J.,CNRS MNHN | And 3 more authors.
World Archaeology | Year: 2013

Abstract: Borduşani-Popină is a Gumelniţa tell site in south-eastern Romania. The cattle mortality profile suggests a husbandry oriented towards prime meat exploitation and dairy production highlighted by the keeping of cattle to advanced age. Besides, the culling strategy also targeted young calves. A stable isotope ratio study was undertaken on dental rows. Bone and dentine collagen δ15N values show that the calves within the slaughtering peak were well-advanced in the weaning process, suggesting that the slaughter was delayed until the end of the cows’ lactation. A consequence would be the sharing of milk production between herders and calves. High inter- and intra-individual variability in bone collagen and enamel bioapatite δ13C values indicated variations in the seasonal ratio of C4 and C3 plants in fodder and between age groups. Overall, the complementary study of mortality profiles and stable isotopes provide evidence of sophisticated husbandry during the fifth millennium cal. bc. © 2013, Taylor & Francis Group, LLC.

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