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Indispensable Knowledge of Eclampsia for Archaelogists and Anthropologists

Abstract : Witnessing a “Grand-mal” epileptic crisis is undoubtedly one of the most impressive events which may happen to any observer (including those who have chosen to work in the medical field). Convulsions have been described and written down since the beginning of writings 5,000 years ago in all continents. Specific to humans, eclampsia, which is a grand-mal epilepsy, happens naturally in 1% of all human births and is responsible of a very high rate of maternal deaths near or at delivery, with also often the death of the foetus or the newborn. Further, it happens preferentially during the first pregnancy, therefore in very young previously very healthy women. Mankind has then eternally lived with this apparent “curse” happening in its reproduction. The terror that inspires this spectacular feature, even nowadays, has undoubtedly shaped the human conscience and interpretations since the beginning of our species, moreover because it happens during the paramount emotional event which is a birth. The author wishes that (paleo) anthropologists and archaeologists integrate this datum in their reflections. For example, the upper Palaeolithic so-called “Venuses”, could be protective talismans for pregnant women not only for birthing, but also against the terrorizing convulsions (eclampsia) which could happen in all human pregnancy, especially in the first ones (primiparae).
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Pierre-Yves Robillard. Indispensable Knowledge of Eclampsia for Archaelogists and Anthropologists. Global Journal of Archaeology & Anthropology, Jupiner publishers, 2018, 5 (4), ⟨10.19080/GJAA.2018.05.555670⟩. ⟨hal-02023066⟩



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