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Eleven biconical vessels from the Copper Age sites Pietrele and Blejeşti (Romania) have been investigated using p-XRF. In most cases, traces of lead could be measured on their surfaces. Samples of slag-like material from two vessels and the clay of one vessel were investigated using laboratory methods, namely SEM, XRD, LIA and optical microscopy. The vessels were obviously used as a kind of crucible in which slag-like remains and galena ore were detected. It still remains unclear as to what final product was gained by smelting galena in this way. The amount of these such vessels in the Pietrele settlement, their appearance as grave goods in Pietrele and Vărăști (Romania), and their supposed occurrence in a number of other Copper Age settlements in Romania and Bulgaria show the significance of this phenomenon. It must have been a widespread and more or less well known practice, an important part of cultural habit during a particular period in the Lower Danube region and likely even farther afield. For the first time, extensive experimentation with lead ore can be shown in a clear chronological horizon, ca. 4400-4300 BCE in southeastern Europe.
This article was published in the following journal.
Name: PloS one
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Injury to the nervous system secondary to exposure to lead compounds. Two distinct clinical patterns occur in children (LEAD POISONING, NERVOUS SYSTEM, CHILDHOOD) and adults (LEAD POISONING, NERVOUS SYSTEM, ADULT). In children, lead poisoning typically produces an encephalopathy. In adults, exposure to toxic levels of lead is associated with a peripheral neuropathy.
Poisoning that results from chronic or acute ingestion, injection, inhalation, or skin absorption of LEAD or lead compounds.
Unstable isotopes of lead that decay or disintegrate emitting radiation. Pb atoms with atomic weights 194-203, 205, and 209-214 are radioactive lead isotopes.
The region of Europe generally from the area of the Baltic Sea to the Ural Mountains of Russia.
Neurologic disorders occurring in children following lead exposure. The most frequent manifestation of childhood lead toxicity is an encephalopathy associated with chronic ingestion of lead that usually presents between the ages of 1 and 3 years. Clinical manifestations include behavioral changes followed by lethargy; CONVULSIONS; HALLUCINATIONS; DELIRIUM; ATAXIA; and vomiting. Elevated intracranial pressure (HYPERTENSION, INTRACRANIAL) and CEREBRAL EDEMA may occur. (From Adams et al., Principles of Neurology, 6th ed, p1210-2)