CEMAC zone: recession could reach 6% according to BEAC

All the indicators are certainly not red. But most of the economic indicators in the six countries of the Economic and Monetary Community of Central Africa (CEMAC) are already found the Monetary Policy Committee (CPM) of the Bank of Central African States (BEAC) at the end of the second annual session on June 24, 2020 in Yaoundé.

Analyzing the situation in Central Africa, it emerges that in the short and medium terms, the CEMAC zone is affected by the health crisis and the fall in the prices of the main export products. "

"In the first half of 2020, the revival of productive activities was slowed down in the sub-region by the disruption of supply circuits for imported products as well as by the restrictive measures adopted by the various governments to contain the effects of the pandemic. Although it is premature for the moment to fully grasp the impact of COVID-19 on national economies, it is already anticipated during this first semester a drop in production as well as a det…

Inca statue reveals unsuspected colors

X-ray analysis of an idol found at the archaeological site of Pachacamac, Peru, reveals for the first time the nature and origin of the colors that covered it. Fans will no doubt recognize the name of the freighter on which Professor Sunflower is held prisoner in the album Tintin and the Temple of the Sun. This name also refers to an archaeological site, located thirty kilometers from Lima, Peru, where a dozen remains of an Inca era city remain, including several temples. In 1938, a team of archaeologists discovered an idol there: a carved wooden mast more than two meters high, the top of which represents the god Pachacamac, son of the Sun and the Moon. They observe red pigments on the sculpture but have nothing to analyze it. 81 years later, a team made up of French and Peruvian researchers specify their composition and at the same time discover the presence of two other colors.


The analyzes were carried out by the team of Philippe Walter, chemist and director of the molecular and structural archeology laboratory (LAMS), on the Jussieu campus in Paris. The latter has developed a portable X-ray fluorescence spectrometer. This tool allows you to analyze the chemical composition of works without moving or degrading them. "Our colleagues from the Pachacamac museum have expressed their interest in this technique," said Marcela Sepulveda, an archaeologist associated with LAMS and the archeology laboratory of the Americas, at the University of Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne. "One of the article's co-authors, Rommel Angeles Falcon, called me to inquire about the presence of red traces on the Pachacamac idol, interpreted in 1938 as traces of blood. ". One of the buildings on the site - The Temple of the Sun - was dedicated to human sacrifice ceremonies. To get to the bottom of it, the sculpture is subjected to the spectrometer.

The discoveries are linked. Red is not blood: it’s cinnabar, a toxic mercury ore. "More importantly, we realized that there was not only red, but also white pigments on a character's teeth and yellow on certain headdresses," said Marcela Sepulveda. The statue was therefore painted with multiple colors, which, according to the authors, demonstrates the importance of the idol for its worshipers. The use of cinnabar is interesting insofar as the deposit of this ore, is located in altitude, nearly 400 kilometers from Pachacamac, while a source of red dye, based on an ore called "hematite", was abundant near the city. The walls of the Temple of the Sun and some ramparts of the site were painted with this easily accessible dye. The international team puts forward a hypothesis: by transporting a pigment from a distant region while others were available on site, the city of Pachacamac intended to display its economic and political power.

The analyzes do not stop there. For the first time, the idol was dated to carbon 14. Result: the object was shaped in the year 731, which indicates that the site of Pachacamac already had a local ritual importance 700 years before the apogee of the inca empire. The sons of the Sun built several imposing constructions. The city had the role of commercial crossroads, administrative center and even place of pilgrimage, to the point of sheltering an oracle advising the emperor himself according to writings of conquistadores. After their era, the idol was stripped of its colors and covered with numerous layers of varnish. Under these conditions, X-ray fluorescence spectrometry shows its limits: the thickness of the varnish prevents in-depth analysis of the wood. As a result, light elements, such as binders (mixed with pigments, they form a dye which is permanently fixed to the support) remain invisible. Under these conditions, yellow does not give as much precision as red on its composition. The idol of the son of the Sun and the Moon still keeps some secrets ...