National Museum of Romanian History

Bucharest, Romania

National Museum of Romanian History

Bucharest, Romania
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Montoya C.,Aix - Marseille University | Balasescu A.,National Museum of Romanian History | Joannin S.,CNRS Geological Laboratory of Lyon: earth, planets and environment | Joannin S.,University of Franche Comte | And 8 more authors.
Journal of Human Evolution | Year: 2013

The open-air site of Kalavan 1 is located in the Aregunyats mountain chain (at 1640m above sea level) on the northern bank of Lake Sevan. It is the first Upper Palaeolithic site excavated in Armenia. Led by an Armenian-French team, several excavations (2005-2009) have revealed a well preserved palaeosoil, dated to around 14,000BP (years before present), containing fauna, lithic artefacts, as well as several hearths and activity areas that structure the settlement. The initial studies enable placement of the site in its environment and justify palaeoethnological analysis of the Epigravettian human groups of the Lesser Caucasus. © 2013 Elsevier Ltd.


Tornero C.,French National Center for Scientific Research | Balasse M.,French National Center for Scientific Research | Balasescu A.,National Museum of Romanian History | Chataigner C.,French National Center for Scientific Research | And 2 more authors.
Journal of Human Evolution | Year: 2016

Kalavan 1 is an Epigravettian hunting campsite in the Aregunyats mountain chain in northeastern Armenia (Lesser Caucasus). The site lies at an elevation of 1640 m in a bottleneck that controls the descent into the Barepat Valley from the alpine meadows above. The lithic and faunal assemblages show evidence of the production of hunting weapons, the hunting and targeting of wild sheep (Ovis orientalis), and the constitution of animal product reserves. A seasonal occupation of the site was proposed within a model of occupation by Epigravettian hunter-gatherers that involved a search for obsidian resources in high altitude sources from the spring to the summer and settling at Kalavan 1 at the end of summer or during autumn to coincide with the migration of wild herds from the alpine meadows to the valley. A key parameter of this model is wild sheep ethology, with a specifically seasonal vertical mobility, based on observations from contemporary mouflon populations from the surrounding areas. In this study, the vertical mobility of Paleolithic wild sheep was directly investigated through sequential isotope analysis (δ18O, δ13C) in teeth. A marked seasonality of birth is suggested that reflects a physiological adaptation to the strong environmental constraints of this mountainous region. Most importantly, a recurrent altitudinal mobility was demonstrated on a seasonal basis, which confirms that wild sheep migrated from lowland areas that they occupied in the winter and then moved to higher altitude meadows during the summer. Last, low inter-individual variability in the stable isotope sequences favors a hypothesis of accumulation for these faunal remains over a short time period. Overall, this new dataset strengthens the previous interpretations for Kalavan 1 and contributes to an understanding of the pattern of occupation of mountain territories by Epigravettian communities. © 2016 Elsevier Ltd.


Balasse M.,French National Center for Scientific Research | Balasescu A.,National Museum of Romanian History | Tornero C.,French National Center for Scientific Research | Fremondeau D.,French National Center for Scientific Research | And 4 more authors.
Quaternary International | Year: 2015

In southeastern Romania, the Gumelniţa culture is characterized by the appearance of tell sites. Whether this phenomenon was accompanied by increasing specialization of the economy may be investigated through the zooarchaeology of pastoral systems. The scale of herding is an important element of this framework. A case study was conducted on the tell sites of Hârşova and Borduşani-Popină situated in the Danube River basin. Both sites, located respectively on a terrace of the river and on the island of Balta Ialomiţei, delivered occupations from the Gumelniţa A2 dated to the second half of 5th millennium cal BC. Their occupants subsisted on an economy focused to a large extent on aquatic resources but also heavily dependent on cattle, pig and caprines husbandry and agriculture. The role of riverbanks resources in herding strategies and the extent to which the island of Balta Ialomiţei may have sustained domestic animal stocks was addressed through stable isotope analysis of animal skeleton remains. At both sites, results revealed local herding for cattle and caprines, reflected in an unexpectedly high contribution of C4 plants to their diet, most likely from ruderal C4 plants that are more abundant around the settlements as well as in cultivated fields. Domestic pigs had a higher trophic status than their wild counterparts, highlighting a significant contribution of animal protein to their diet most likely provided by human activities, suggesting that they were maintained in the settlement. Overall the findings suggest domestic stocks were reared in close proximity to the settlements, rather than in an extensive system. This scheme complements the small-scale cultivation system highlighted from the archaeobotanical analysis. Gumelniţa tell sites have been previously described as being part of larger pastoral systems including locations with complementary functions, although functional complementarity in time was not made explicit in this model. In this regard, the results obtained at Hârşova and Borduşani-Popină are not in favour of large-scale seasonal mobility. © 2015 Elsevier Ltd and INQUA.


Chahoud J.,French National Center for Scientific Research | Chahoud J.,Lebanese University | Vila E.,French National Center for Scientific Research | Balasescu A.,National Museum of Romanian History | Crassard R.,French National Center for Scientific Research
Quaternary International | Year: 2016

Kites in Armenia were recently discovered, and investigations into their construction, typology and dating are ongoing. With these discoveries, it has become necessary to investigate a series of unsolved questions. In order to test the functions of kites, we conducted a synthesis describing the occurrence and habitat range of Late Pleistocene and Holocene wild ungulates in Armenia. Wildlife is discussed by emphasizing animal behavior and distribution, along with the hunting strategies adopted by the communities that inhabited Armenia.In spite of the fact that wild ungulates did not contribute largely to the daily meat intake or to the major raw products needed by humans since their domestication (around 6000 cal. BC), wild goats, gazelle and red deer were the animals most frequently hunted in Armenia in different time periods and in a variety of landscapes. Hypotheses put forward suggest that these preferences might be linked to using kites as traps for herds at different seasons of the year and on different altitudes, between 3000 and 500 BC. © 2015 Elsevier Ltd and INQUA.


Radu V.,National Museum of Romanian History | Popovici D.N.,National Museum of Romanian History | Cernea C.,Ialomita County Museum | Cernau I.,Ialomita County Museum | Balasescu A.,National Museum of Romanian History
Environmental Archaeology | Year: 2016

Freshwater bivalve shells are frequently identified in faunal assemblages from Neo-Eneolithic tell settlements along the Danube River valley in South-East Romania (5th millennium BC). Up until now, significant accumulations of freshwater bivalve shells have been identified only in household refuse areas of the settlements, where they form consistent shell layers. The origin and formation of such shell accumulations and, more generally, the role of bivalves in the animal economy of the prehistoric populations that inhabited the settlements, are poorly understood. Two freshwater bivalve shell accumulations were studied in household refuse areas of Eneolithic tell settlements, one at Borduşani-Popină and the other at Hârşova tell. The occurrence of similar accumulations in the two settlements indicates generalized practices between the two communities. This first study of such accumulations addresses the relationship between bivalves and other animal species used in alimentation by the two Eneolithic communities, as well as the relationships between these communities, their environment, and the evolution of the settlements. Bivalves were harvested in the close vicinity of the settlements and large quantities were obtained only towards the end of the summer season. During this season there is an inverse relationship between high water levels in the river and the availability of bivalves for harvesting. Bivalves played an important role in the alimentation of the prehistoric populations – at Hârşova tell their contribution to alimentation in terms of energetic yield surpasses that of fish, at least for the short period of time represented by the stratigraphic sequence analysed. Bivalve shells were used, along with other types of household refuse, in construction techniques aimed at limiting soil humidity in the settlements and inside the dwellings. © Association for Environmental Archaeology 2015


Carsote C.,National Museum of Romanian History | Carsote C.,University of Bucharest | Badea E.,Romanian National Institute for Research and Development in for Textile and Leather | Badea E.,University of Craiova | And 2 more authors.
Journal of Thermal Analysis and Calorimetry | Year: 2016

Micro-differential scanning calorimetry was used to reveal the deterioration patterns of collagen in vegetable-tanned leather. The influence of both the tannin type, i.e. hydrolysable or condensed, and collagen animal species, i.e. calf and sheep, was investigated. Comparison with the behaviour of unmodified collagen in parchment was made to explain the thermal destabilisation and denaturation of the chemically modified collagen in leather. Both leather and parchment were subjected to accelerate ageing by heating at 70 °C in controlled atmosphere at 30 % RH. The synergistic effect of the daylight exposure was studied by irradiating the samples in the visible domain with 4000 lx. The destabilisation effect induced by the hydrothermal ageing treatment was evident since the 8th day and reached a critical level after 32-day ageing time. The formation of damaged intermediate states with progressively lower thermal stability was the main feature of the deterioration pattern independent of the tannin type and collagen species. Quebracho-tanned calf leather was the most resistant against ageing, whereas chestnut-tanned sheep leather underwent de-tanning after a 32-day ageing period. Exposure to visible light irradiation induced an evident thermal stabilisation due to cross-link formation. The balance between thermal stabilisation and destabilisation processes in leather during visible light exposure was influenced by the tannin type. © 2016 Akadémiai Kiadó, Budapest, Hungary


Niculescu G.,National Museum of Romanian History | Georgescu M.,National Museum of Romanian History | Sarghie I.,Technical University Gheorghe Asachi
X-Ray Spectrometry | Year: 2012

The formation of patina on the surface of archeological bronze objects is a complex phenomenon, being influenced by various parameters induced by the environment and the alloy composition. Over several years, many attempts have been made to analyze the bulk composition of the alloys by nondestructive surface measurements. In this paper, we propose an analytical approach to evaluate the composition of bronze alloys using neural network analysis and X-ray fluorescence spectrometry. © 2012 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.


Goude G.,Aix - Marseille University | Balasescu A.,National Museum of Romanian History | Reveillas H.,INRAP Grand Est Sud | Reveillas H.,French National Center for Scientific Research | And 2 more authors.
International Journal of Osteoarchaeology | Year: 2015

Several human groups (from the Neolithic to the Bronze Age) have been analysed in France during the past decade (mainly for C and N stable isotope) as part of research programmes focusing on prehistoric dietary variability. The environment, cultural/social choices or even biological characteristics are among the parameters influencing food acquisition and consumption. This short report presents the first diachronic isotopic results on the palaeodiet in northeastern France. Because of the exceptional archaeological characteristics (human deposits in various positions in pits) of the bone collection from the site of Gougenheim and the surrounding areas (Late Neolithic-Iron Age, Alsace, France), this assemblage provides a new isotopic dataset to study diet and the potential relationship with social elements or other factors involved in food choices. In order to obtain individual palaeodietary information, carbon and nitrogen stable isotope analyses were performed on 23 adults and 20 immature human bone collagen samples as well as on 25 animal remains. Data were then combined with zooarchaeological and anthropological/archaeological results to reconstruct part of the dietary pattern (i.e. protein consumed) and to detect possible links between the deposit and individual or group social status, defined here by specific mortuary practices. For the Late Neolithic period, isotopic values show, among other things, a wide δ13C range within the female human group, which is statistically lower than the male one. Women probably consumed more diversified food sources, suggesting increased residential mobility. Although body deposits point to the presence of two distinct subgroups, no relationship with animal protein intake was identified. Moreover, the comparison with Iron Age individuals brought to light different dietary patterns between the two periods, indicating that stable isotope values were affected throughout time either by increased millet/legume consumption or environmental/anthropic changes. © 2015 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.


Petroviciu I.,National Museum of Romanian History | Petroviciu I.,University of Bucharest | Medvedovici A.,University of Bucharest | Albu F.,Science LaborMed Pharma S.A. | And 2 more authors.
Romanian Reports in Physics | Year: 2012

An analytical protocol for the identification of natural dyes in historic textiles by LC-MS and LC-MS/MS was recently developed for the first time in Romania. The present study discusses the application of this approach in the identification of dyes and biological sources in very low amounts of fibers from textiles in local collections.


Bejenaru L.,Al. I. Cuza University | Stanc S.,Al. I. Cuza University | Popovici M.,Al. I. Cuza University | Balasescu A.,National Museum of Romanian History | Cotiuga V.,Al. I. Cuza University
Holocene | Year: 2013

This paper reviews identification of the auroch (Bos primigenius) during the Holocene in Romania based on data from 190 archaeological sites, corresponding to Neolithic (including Chalcolithic), Bronze Age, Iron Age, Antiquity and the Middle Ages. The assemblages were analysed according to the geographical and historical regionalisation of the Romanian territory (i.e. Moldavia, Dobrudja, Wallachia, Banat, and Transylvania). The data reveal the rather low contribution of hunted aurochs to local economies, though with spatial and temporal variations. Although the species is currently extinct, aurochs still appear in the medieval samples from the 14-15th centuries, and the coincidence of the archaeozoological data with those from documentary sources is marked. © The Author(s) 2012.

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