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Study Detects Influence of “Pseudo-Neglect” in Ancient Villages

Wednesday, January 15, 2020

Neolithic Slovakia SettlementKIEL, GERMANY—According to a statement released by Kiel University, a Slovak-German research team has developed a technique to study Neolithic settlements based upon the alignment of buildings over time. Archaeologist Nils Müller-Scheeßel of Kiel's Collaborative Research Centre explained that researchers have long thought that Neolithic structures were used for about a generation before they were rebuilt. Perception psychologists, he added, have found that healthy people usually favor their left visual field over their right, and thus will regularly deviate slightly to the left of center—a phenomenon known as “pseudo-neglect.” Employing this concept, Müller-Scheeßel and his colleagues conducted geophysical surveys of Neolithic village sites in southwestern Slovakia. They detected a slight counterclockwise shift as new buildings were constructed over older ones. The researchers then compared this data with radiocarbon dates. The study suggests that the concept of pseudo-neglect could allow researchers to create a relative sequence for Neolithic housing sites without extensive excavation, Müller-Scheeßel explained, although traditional dating methods would still be needed to confirm a basic sequence. To read about a unique silver belt uncovered near an ancient Roman military camp outside Bratislava, go to "World Roundup: Slovakia."

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