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Riemer 2007

Heiko Riemer, When hunters started herding, Pastro-foragers and the complexity of Holocene economic change in the Western Desert of Egypt. In: Michael Bollig, Olaf Bubenzer, Ralf Vogelsang & Hans-Peter Wotzka (Hrsg.), Aridity, Change and Conflict in Africa, Proceedings of an International ACACIA Conference held at Königswinter, Germany October 1–3, 2003. Colloquium Africanum 2 (Köln 2007), 105–144.

Despite the debate on early Holocene large bovids from the Nabta-Kiseiba region, faunal data from archaeological sites in the Eastern Sahara speak for an introduction and rapid spread of domestic cattle, goat and sheep around 6000 calBC within a highly mobile hunter-gatherer context. However, wild animals and hunting equipment are the major components of archaeological sites from the 6th millennium. Diversity in relief and water accessibility, and the seasonal influence of winter and summer rains formed the individual conditions of subsistence in which herding played only a minor role. It was not before the onset of deterioration of the Eastern Sahara, around 5000 calBC, and the following population agglomeration in the Nile Valley that herding and plant cultivation became dominant in the predynastic economies which can truly be labelled as the earliest Neolithic in Egypt.

Keywords: Pastro-foragers | domesticated animals | hunting | herding | arrow heads | economic change | Holocene | Neolithic | Egypt


Enemark 2016

Daniel Enemark, Clark C. Gibson, Mathew D. McCubbins & Brigitte Seim, Effect of holding office on the behavior of politicians. PNAS 113 (2016), 13690–13695.

pnas113-13690-Supplement1.rtf, pnas113-13690-Supplement2.rtf, pnas113-13690-Supplement3.pdf, pnas113-13690-Supplement4.pdf

Reciprocity is central to our understanding of politics. Most political exchanges—whether they involve legislative vote trading, interbranch bargaining, constituent service, or even the corrupt exchange of public resources for private wealth—require reciprocity. But how does reciprocity arise? Do government officials learn reciprocity while holding office, or do recruitment and selection practices favor those who already adhere to a norm of reciprocity? We recruit Zambian politicians who narrowly won or lost a previous election to play behavioral games that provide a measure of reciprocity. This combination of regression discontinuity and experimental designs allows us to estimate the effect of holding office on behavior. We find that holding office increases adherence to the norm of reciprocity. This study identifies causal effects of holding office on politicians’ behavior.

Keywords: regression discontinuity | behavioral games | reciprocity | legislative bargaining | corruption

Significance: Does being elected to political office change an individual’s behavior? Some scholars and policymakers assert that elected officials are inherently different from nonpoliticians, whereas others argue that political institutions or the culture of politics inculcate certain behaviors. We identify the effect of holding office on behavior. We recruit in-office and out-of-office politicians in Zambia to participate in behavioral games that measure reciprocity, a behavioral trait that underpins various interactions in the political arena from bribery to lobbying to legislative bargaining. We find that holding elected office causes an increase in reciprocity. The policy implication of this finding is that political institutions, culture, and incentive structures can be designed to shape the behavior and choices of society’s leaders.

Lorenzo 2016

Guillermo Lorenzo et al., Tissue-scale, personalized modeling and simulation of prostate cancer growth. PNAS 113 (2016), E7663–E7671.

pnas113-E7663-Supplement1.avi, pnas113-E7663-Supplement2.avi, pnas113-E7663-Supplement3.avi, pnas113-E7663-Supplement4.avi

Guillermo Lorenzo, Michael A. Scott, Kevin Tew, Thomas J. R. Hughes, Yongjie Jessica Zhang, Lei Liu, Guillermo Vilanova & Hector Gomez

Recently, mathematical modeling and simulation of diseases and their treatments have enabled the prediction of clinical outcomes and the design of optimal therapies on a personalized (i.e., patient-specific) basis. This new trend in medical research has been termed “predictive medicine.” Prostate cancer (PCa) is a major health problem and an ideal candidate to explore tissue-scale, personalized modeling of cancer growth for two main reasons: First, it is a small organ, and, second, tumor growth can be estimated by measuring serum prostate-specific antigen (PSA, a PCa biomarker in blood), which may enable in vivo validation. In this paper, we present a simple continuous model that reproduces the growth patterns of PCa. We use the phase-field method to account for the transformation of healthy cells to cancer cells and use diffusion-reaction equations to compute nutrient consumption and PSA production. To accurately and efficiently compute tumor growth, our simulations leverage isogeometric analysis (IGA). Our model is shown to reproduce a known shape instability from a spheroidal pattern to fingered growth. Results of our computations indicate that such shift is a tumor response to escape starvation, hypoxia, and, eventually, necrosis. Thus, branching enables the tumor to minimize the distance from inner cells to external nutrients, contributing to cancer survival and further development. We have also used our model to perform tissue-scale, personalized simulation of a PCa patient, based on prostatic anatomy extracted from computed tomography images. This simulation shows tumor progression similar to that seen in clinical practice.

Keywords: prostate cancer | personalized | tissue scale | phase field | isogeometric analysis

Significance: We perform a tissue-scale, personalized computer simulation of prostate cancer (PCa) growth in a patient, based on prostatic anatomy extracted from medical images. To do so, we propose a mathematical model for the growth of PCa. The model includes an equation for the reference biomarker of PCa: the prostate-specific antigen (PSA). Hence, we can link the results of our model to data that urologists can easily interpret. Our model reproduces features of prostatic tumor growth observed in experiments and clinical practice. It also captures a known shift in the growth pattern of PCa, from spheroidal to fingered geometry. Our results indicate that this shape instability is a tumor response to escape starvation, hypoxia, and, eventually, necrosis.


Finkelstein 2002

Israel Finkelstein, The Philistines in the Bible, A Late-Monarchic Perspective. Journal for the Study of the Old Testament 27 (2002), ii, 131–167.

The biblical references to the Philistines do not contain any memory of early Iron I events or cultural behaviour. A few texts, such as the Ark Narrative and stories reflecting the importance of Gath, seem to portray late Iron I and early Iron II memories. Most of the Philistine material, even if historically stratified and containing seeds of early tales as well as evidence for more than one redaction, is based on the geographical, historical and ideological background of late-monarchic times. Especially important are the allusions to Greek and west Anatolian mercenaries who served in the Saite army and were probably stationed, among other places, in Philistia. Chief among them were Carian, Ionian, Lydian and apparently also Cretan hoplites. This article highlights the following issues: the Philistine seranim, the pentapolis, Goliath’s armour, the Cherethites and the Pelethites and the origin of the Philistines.

Finkelstein 2015

Israel Finkelstein & Eli Piasetzky, Radiocarbon Dating Khirbet Qeiyafa and the Iron I-IIA Phases in the Shephelah, Methodological Comments and a Bayesian Model. Radiocarbon 57 (2015), 891–907.

This article discusses methodological issues related to the radiocarbon dating of Khirbet Qeiyafa, mainly the question of whether the site should be dated solely according to samples retrieved there or dated as part of a regional sequence of stratigraphically based ceramic typology phases. For the latter, we deploy the large number of 14C determinations now available for several sites in the Shephelah, which are located in close proximity to each other, in order to establish a Bayesian model for the absolute chronology of the Iron I–IIA phases in the region. We argue that the information assembled from six neighboring sites in the Shephelah pushes forward the date of Qeiyafa to the 10th century, a date later than the one the excavators estimated based on the more limited 14C information from the site alone.

Rollston 2012

Christopher A. Rollston, What’s the Oldest Hebrew Inscription? Biblical Archaeology Review 38 (2012), iii, 32–40, 66–68.

BAR38.3-032-Comment1.pdf, BAR38.3-032-Comment2.pdf

At the end of the day, I conclude that none of this quartet of inscriptions can be declared the winner of the title “The Earliest Hebrew Inscription.” The script of the Qeiyafa Ostracon is Early Alphabetic, certainly not Hebrew and it contains no distinctive linguistic features that would allow us to define the language as Old Hebrew. Much the same can be said of the language of the Gezer Calendar. And the script of the Gezer Calendar falls nicely within the Phoenician script series. The Tel Zayit Abecedary is a fine Phoenician script that falls well within the Phoenician script series. Finally, the script of the Izbet Sartah Abecedary is Early Alphabetic. In short, the earliest Old Hebrew inscriptions come from periods that postdate the inscriptions from Qeiyafa, Gezer, Tel Zayit and Izbet Sartah.


Miller 2016

Lee M. Miller & Axel Kleidon, Wind speed reductions by large-scale wind turbine deployments lower turbine efficiencies and set low generation limits. PNAS 113 (2016), 13570–13575.

Wind turbines generate electricity by removing kinetic energy from the atmosphere. Large numbers of wind turbines are likely to reduce wind speeds, which lowers estimates of electricity generation from what would be presumed from unaffected conditions. Here, we test how well wind power limits that account for this effect can be estimated without explicitly simulating atmospheric dynamics. We first use simulations with an atmospheric general circulation model (GCM) that explicitly simulates the effects of wind turbines to derive wind power limits (GCM estimate), and compare them to a simple approach derived from the climatological conditions without turbines [vertical kinetic energy (VKE) estimate]. On land, we find strong agreement between the VKE and GCM estimates with respect to electricity generation rates (0.32 and 0.37 We m-2) and wind speed reductions by 42 and 44 %. Over ocean, the GCM estimate is about twice the VKE estimate (0.59 and 0.29 We m-2) and yet with comparable wind speed reductions (50 and 42 %). We then show that this bias can be corrected by modifying the downwardmomentumflux to the surface. Thus, large-scale limits to wind power use can be derived from climatological conditions without explicitly simulating atmospheric dynamics. Consistent with the GCMsimulations, the approach estimates that only comparatively few land areas are suitable to generate more than 1 We m-2 of electricity and that larger deployment scales are likely to reduce the expected electricity generation rate of each turbine. We conclude that these atmospheric effects are relevant for planning the future expansion of wind power.

Keywords: momentum | natural limits | surface stress | wind energy | vertical transport

Significance: Understanding the limits of electricity generation from winds is a requirement for planning a renewable energy future. A difficulty in estimating such limits is that wind turbines remove kinetic energy from the atmosphere, so that many turbines should reduce wind speeds, ultimately setting a limit to how much kinetic energy can be taken out of the atmosphere. We show that this slowdown effect can be accounted for by detailed climate model simulations and a relatively simple method that does not directly simulate atmospheric dynamics. This slowdown effect is critical to consider, as it makes each turbine less productive and shows that few land areas can yield more than 1.0 We m-2 of electricity at large scales.


Kaplan 2010

Jed O. Kaplan, Kristen M. Krumhardt, Erle C. Ellis, William F. Ruddiman, Carsten Lemmen & Kees Klein Goldewijk, Holocene carbon emissions as a result of anthropogenic land cover change. The Holocene 21 (2010), 775–791.

Humans have altered the Earth’s land surface since the Paleolithic mainly by clearing woody vegetation first to improve hunting and gathering opportunities, and later to provide agricultural cropland. In the Holocene, agriculture was established on nearly all continents and led to widespread modification of terrestrial ecosystems. To quantify the role that humans played in the global carbon cycle over the Holocene, we developed a new, annually resolved inventory of anthropogenic land cover change from 8000 years ago to the beginning of large-scale industrialization (AD 1850). This inventory is based on a simple relationship between population and land use observed in several European countries over preindustrial time. Using this data set, and an alternative scenario based on the HYDE 3.1 land use data base, we forced the LPJ dynamic global vegetation model in a series of continuous simulations to evaluate the impacts of humans on terrestrial carbon storage during the preindustrial Holocene. Our model setup allowed us to quantify the importance of land degradation caused by repeated episodes of land use followed by abandonment. By 3 ka BP, cumulative carbon emissions caused by anthropogenic land cover change in our new scenario ranged between 84 and 102 Pg, translating to c. 7 ppm of atmospheric CO2. By AD 1850, emissions were 325–357 Pg in the new scenario, in contrast to 137–189 Pg when driven by HYDE. Regional events that resulted in local emissions or uptake of carbon were often balanced by contrasting patterns in other parts of the world. While we cannot close the carbon budget in the current study, simulated cumulative anthropogenic emissions over the preindustrial Holocene are consistent with the ice core record of atmospheric d13CO2 and support the hypothesis that anthropogenic activities led to the stabilization of atmospheric CO2 concentrations at a level that made the world substantially warmer than it otherwise would be.

Keywords: agricultural intensification | anthropogenic land cover change | dynamic global vegetation model | global carbon cycle | Holocene CO2 | prehistory

Taylor 2016

Alan H. Taylor, Valerie Trouet, Carl N. Skinner & Scott Stephens, Socioecological transitions trigger fire regime shifts and modulate fire–climate interactions in the Sierra Nevada, USA, 1600–2015 CE. PNAS 113 (2016), 13684–13689.

Large wildfires in California cause significant socioecological impacts, and half of the federal funds for fire suppression are spent each year in California. Future fire activity is projected to increase with climate change, but predictions are uncertain because humans can modulate or even override climatic effects on fire activity. Here we test the hypothesis that changes in socioecological systems from the Native American to the current period drove shifts in fire activity and modulated fire–climate relationships in the Sierra Nevada. We developed a 415-y record (1600–2015 CE) of fire activity by merging a treering –based record of Sierra Nevada fire history with a 20th-century record based on annual area burned. Large shifts in the fire record corresponded with socioecological change, and not climate change, and socioecological conditions amplified and buffered fire response to climate. Fire activity was highest and fire–climate relationships were strongest after Native American depopulation—following mission establishment (ca. 1775 CE)—reduced the self-limiting effect of Native American burns on fire spread. With the Gold Rush and EuroAmerican settlement (ca. 1865 CE), fire activity declined, and the strong multidecadal relationship between temperature and fire decayed and then disappeared after implementation of fire suppression (ca. 1904 CE). The amplification and buffering of fire–climate relationships by humans underscores the need for parameterizing thresholds of human- vs. climate-driven fire activity to improve the skill and value of fire–climate models for addressing the increasing fire risk in California.

Keywords: anthropogenic landscapes | fire ecology | land use | regime shifts | climate variability

Significance: Twenty-first–century climate change is projected to increase fire activity in California, but predictions are uncertain because humans can amplify or buffer fire–climate relationships. We combined a tree-ring–based fire history with 20th-century area burned data to show that large fire regime shifts during the past 415 y corresponded with socioecological change, and not climate variability. Climate amplified large-scale fire activity after Native American depopulation reduced the buffering effect of Native American burns on fire spread. Later Euro-American settlement and fire suppression buffered fire activity from long-term temperature increases. Our findings highlight a need to enhance our understanding of human–fire interactions to improve the skill of future projections of fire driven by climate change.


Rahmstorf 2016

Lorenz Rahmstorf, Emerging Economic Complexity in the Aegean and Western Anatolia during Earlier Third Millennium BC. In: Barry P. C. Molloy (Hrsg.), Of Odysseys and Oddities, Scales and modes of interaction between prehistoric Aegean societies and their neighbours. Sheffield Studies in Aegean Archaeology (Oxford 2016), 225–276.

The ‘exceptional character’ (Nakou 1997: 637) of the Northeast Aegean with sites like Troy and Poliochni (and now also Myrina) is well documented already during the third millennium. The richness of the metallurgy, the splendour of the hoards (’treasures’) and as well as outstanding buildings with apparent special functions (like the ‘Bouleuterion’ at Poliochni or the Megara at Troy) give the material culture a quality not encountered before.

As has been shown, for several reasons it is unlikely that the twin innovations of seal-use and weight metrology, were autochthonous inventions. This is indicated by the earlier existence of both of them in the lands east of the Aegean and Western Anatolia (Eastern Anatolia, Syria, Mesopotamia). Both innovations left their irst traces in the earlier third millennium BC during the late EBA I and during the transition from EBA I to EBA II, before the Lefkandi I-Kastri horizon emerged around the middle of the third millennium BC.

The purpose of this paper has been to underline that the impressive developments visible in many regions of the Aegean and Western Anatolia around the middle of the third millennium, e.g. during the period of the Corridor Houses on the Southern Greek mainland, are to no small extent the outcome of the implementation of important innovations, ‘escaped technologies’ from the East during the earlier third millennium BC which became adapted but changed to local preferences. Derivatives, if not somewhat independent interpretations of the foreign practices are especially perceptible in the Aegean.

Real bronze, however, did not yet play a substantial role in economic life during the earlier half of the third millennium and even during the latter half of that epoch, its impact was limited because arsenical copper was still much more in use. Hence to call the early third millennium BC already an Early Bronze Age seems to be a misnomer, rather the Age of Accountancy and Metrology had started.


Goren 2009

Y. Goren, H. Mommsen, I. Finkelstein & N. Na’aman, A Provenance Study of the Gilgamesh Fragment from Megiddo. Archaeometry 51 (2009), 763–773.

A Late Bronze Age fragment of a clay cuneiform tablet with the Gilgamesh Epic was found in the 1950s on the surface at Megiddo. The presence of scribes in Megiddo is evident from the el-Amarna letters. This is the only first-class literary Mesopotamian text ever to be found in Canaan. The aim of the present study was to examine the origin of this tablet, by mineralogical and elemental methods. The petrographic and NAA results indicate that the tablet was not Mesopotamian, but was written in southern Israel. The implications of this result in view of the small corpus of scholarly cuneiform texts discovered in Egypt and the southern Levant in the second millennium BCE are discussed.


Forget 2016

Mathilde C. L. Forget & Ruth Shahack-Gross, How long does it take to burn down an ancient Near Eastern city? The study of experimentally heated mud-bricks. Antiquity 90 (2016), 1213–1225.

Many famous archaeological sites have been subjected to destructive fires, whether hostile or accidental, including Near Eastern cities constructed largely of mud-brick. But how long did it take to burn down a city? The mud-bricks themselves provide a valuable record. By heating experimental bricks of different sizes, shapes and compositions to high temperatures, the minimum duration of an ancient conflagration can be calculated. The resulting equations were applied to bricks from the destruction of Tel Megiddo at the end of the Iron Age I, and indicate that the burning lasted a minimum of two to three hours: a much shorter period than expected.

Keywords: Near East | Bronze Age | Iron Age | fire | conflagration | mud-brick | combustion


Debono Spiteri 2016

Cynthianne Debono Spiteri et al., Regional asynchronicity in dairy production and processing in early farming communities of the northern Mediterranean. PNAS 113 (2016), 13594–13599.

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Cynthianne Debono Spiteri, Rosalind E. Gillis, Mélanie Roffet-Salque, Laura Castells Navarro, Jean Guilaine, Claire Manen, Italo M. Muntoni, Maria Saña Segui, Dushka Urem-Kotsou, Helen L. Whelton, Oliver E. Craig, Jean-Denis Vigne & Richard P. Evershed

In the absence of any direct evidence, the relative importance of meat and dairy productions to Neolithic prehistoric Mediterranean communities has been extensively debated. Here, we combine lipid residue analysis of ceramic vessels with osteo-archaeological age-at-death analysis from 82 northern Mediterranean and Near Eastern sites dating from the seventh to fifth millennia BC to address this question. The findings show variable intensities in dairy and nondairy activities in the Mediterranean region with the slaughter profiles of domesticated ruminants mirroring the results of the organic residue analyses. The finding of milk residues in very early Neolithic pottery (seventh millennium BC) from both the east and west of the region contrasts with much lower intensities in sites of northern Greece, where pig bones are present in higher frequencies compared with other locations. In this region, the slaughter profiles of all domesticated ruminants suggest meat production predominated. Overall, it appears that milk or the by-products of milk was an important foodstuff, whichmay have contributed significantly to the spread of these cultural groups by providing a nourishing and sustainable product for early farming communities.

Keywords: archaeology | Neolithic | lipid residue analyses | archaeozoology | milk

Significance: This unique research combines the analyses of lipid residues in pottery vessels with slaughter profiles for domesticated ruminants to provide compelling evidence for diverse subsistence strategies in the northern Mediterranean basin during the Neolithic. Our findings show that the exploitation and processing of milk varied across the region, although most communities began to exploit milk as soon as domesticates were introduced between 9,000 and 7,000 y ago. This discovery is especially noteworthy as the shift in human subsistence toward milk production reshaped prehistoric European culture, biology, and economy in ways that are still visible today.

Furholt 2016

Martin Furholt, Settlement layout and social organisation in the earliest European Neolithic. Antiquity 90 (2016), 1196–1212.

Antiquity090-1196-Supplement1.xls, Antiquity090-1196-Supplement2.xls, Antiquity090-1196-Supplement3.xls

The internal layout of early settlements can provide insight into social organisation and the processes of Neolithic expansion into Europe. Analysis of variables describing 71 sites revealed a spectrum extending between two distinct settlement types that can be regionally and chronologically situated. The very early ‘Anatolian village’ in the south-east exhibits multi-level organisation, reflected in concentrated residence and temporal stability; the younger (post 6000 BC) ‘Balkan village’ in the north-west represents a new model with less centralised control of space and a less permanent layout. Between these types is a transitional domain of more heterogeneous, and ever-changing settlement layouts, which is characterised as a ‘third space’ of hybridised traditions.

Keywords: Europe | Neolithic | settlement | social organisation | correspondence analysis

Goring-Morris 2016

Nigel Goring-Morris & Anna Belfer-Cohen, The appearance of the Neolithic in the Levant, Sudden? Gradual? And Where From? In: Ünsal Yalçin (Hrsg.), Anatolian Metal VII, Anatolien und seine Nachbarn vor 10.000 Jahren. Der Anschnitt, Beiheft 31 (Bochum 2016), 185–198.

So clearly, there are unique characteristics that justify the ‘independence’ of the PPNA as a distinct unit. Moreover, since there is an observable trend of continuity into the PPNB, it is legitimate to use the term that endorses processes that will flourish later, rather than a term identified with processes that will dissolve, namely include it within the Neolithic rather than the Epipalaeolithic phenomena. Indeed, while the Levantine Neolithic koine is most apparent during the subsequent PPNB (Bar-Yosef & Belfer-Cohen 1989), it does appear that the beginnings of “the concept” were already there during the PPNA.

Watkins 2016

Trevor Watkins, Anatolia as a Microcosm of the Neolithic Process. In: Ünsal Yalçin (Hrsg.), Anatolian Metal VII, Anatolien und seine Nachbarn vor 10.000 Jahren. Der Anschnitt, Beiheft 31 (Bochum 2016), 35–41.

For more than half a century Braidwood’s definition of the ‘hilly flanks of the Fertile Crescent’ has governed our mental image of that core area, but work in progress at A³ykly Höyük, Pynarba³y and Boncuklu is showing us that communities in central Anatolia were pursuing parallel and synchronous evolutionary trajectories. Central Anatolia has a good case for being included within that core area within which Neolithic communities and farming emerged. And, thirdly, there is now good archaeological raw material from western and north-western Anatolia to feed research into the first stages of the expansion of those farming communities into new ecological regions. Anatolia provides us with a microcosm within which we can engage with all the questions that fascinate us about the pivotal process that we call the Neolithic revolution.

Story or Book

Rowan 2016

Yorke Rowan, Gods and scholars, Archaeologies of religion in the Near East. Antiquity 90 (2016), 1387–1389.

Ian Hodder (ed.). Religion at work in a Neolithic society: vital matters. 2014. xx+382 pages, numerous b&w illustrations. Cambridge: CambridgeUniversity Press; 978-1-107-67126-3 £22.99.

for encouraging expansive research questions. The contributors, including theologians, philosophers, cultural anthropologists, sociologists and scholars of religion, met at the Neolithic site of Çatalhöyük in Turkey over the course of three years (2009– 2011).

Hodder’s volume presents an innovative, interdisciplinary approach that inspires and offers fresh directions for thinking about well-known motifs and problems. Some readers may be put off by the abstract level of discussion or perhaps even by the fact that the participants could not agree on how to define ‘religion’. Nonetheless, this volume marks an inspired approach to the exploration of ancient religion and religious practice.

Rowan 2016

Yorke Rowan, Gods and scholars, Archaeologies of religion in the Near East. Antiquity 90 (2016), 1387–1389.

Nicola Laneri (ed.). Defining the sacred: approaches to the archaeology of religion in the Near East. 2015. 186 pages, numerous b&w illustrations, numerous tables. Oxford: Oxbow Books; 978-1-78297-679-0 paperback £38.

The contributions focus on a single region, the Near East, plus one paper on Turkmenistan. The chapters are grouped into three sections: ‘Sacred nature’, ‘Housing the god’ and ‘The materialisation of religious practices and beliefs’.

Writing on the southern Levant, Rosen views the rise of Neolithic cult sites in the southern Negev as connected with the transition from hunter-gatherer groups to pastoralists herding (recently domesticated) goats.

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