Washington D.C: A new study has discovered the reason behind humans choosing left over right or center.
Human beings have always been inclined towards left even if suggested to focus on the center from the pre-historic era. But why? The answer was unknown until recently.
The study published on Friday in the online magazine PLOS ONE for the first time brings out the influential element behind this inconspicuous deviation had in the prehistoric past.
A Slovak-German research team has investigated the alignment of early Neolithic houses in Central and Eastern Europe.
Scientists of the Collaborative Research Centre (CRC) ‘Scales of Transformation’ of Kiel University (CAU) and the Slovakian Academy of Sciences were able to prove that the orientation of newly built houses deviated by a small amount from that of existing buildings and that this deviation was regularly counterclockwise.
Archaeologist Dr. Nils Muller-Scheessel, who coordinated the study within the CRC, said, “Researchers have long assumed that early Neolithic houses stood for about a generation, i.e. 30 to 40 years, and that new houses had to be built next to existing ones at regular intervals.”
He also shared, “By means of age determination using the radiocarbon method, we can now show that the new construction was associated with a barely perceptible rotation of the house axis counterclockwise. We see ‘Pseudoneglect’ as the most likely cause of this.”
This insight was made possible by the interpretation of one of the fastest-growing archaeological data sets at present, namely the results of geophysical magnetic measurements.
Differences in the earth’s magnetic field are used to visualise archaeological features lying underground. Early Neolithic house ground plans belong to the best identifiable types of features.
“In recent years, we have discovered hundreds of Early Neolithic houses in our field of work in south-western Slovakia using geophysical prospection methods. Excavating all these houses is neither possible nor desirable for reasons of monument conservation,” says Mister Muller-Scheessel enthusiastically
The possibility of using ‘Pseudoneglect’ to bring the houses into a relative sequence without excavation and thus to break down the settlement activity of an entire small region raises our research to a completely new level,” shares Muller, adding, “Absolute dating using scientific methods must, of course, confirm the basic trend in every case.”
The study also refers to comparable archaeological observations at other places and times, which show that similar changes in orientation also seem to apply to more recent prehistoric periods.
The significance of ‘Pseudoneglect’ thus extends far beyond the dating of early Neolithic houses.