Acoustic archaeology

Acoustic archaeology

I doubt that in due time someone filed a complaint against the builders of the tombs and burial chambers of the Neolithic period. In the late stone age (C. 4000-2000 BC in Europe) was erected megalithic structures, most of which are still standing today. Except for earthen platforms, single megaliths and their complexes, such as Stonehenge, built in the shape of a circle, many took the form of earthen chambers, sometimes lined with stone, with one or more passages for access from the outside, often in a Crescent shape. And although they were found only bones to assert that the buildings were only the graves, be – it could have been altars for sacrifices, worshipped the spirits of their ancestors.

Acoustic archaeology as a science has arisen recently: scientists studying the acoustic properties of ancient structures, suggested that the people who designed and built these cameras, paid great attention to the resonant properties of underground rooms.

In an attempt to shed light on these ancient structures writer Paul Devereux and Professor at Princeton University Robert Jahn have examined the acoustic properties of a number of prehistoric underground chambers in the UK and Ireland. They examined the dolmen of Chun in Cornwall – dug in the land of single-chamber megalithic burial structure, and Walenz-Smithy in Berkshire – long barrow with stone tomb. After atohoun conducted a study of Newgrange – a large corridor of the tomb with a cruciform chamber, as well as two burial structures at Lough crew: all these objects are on the territory of the Irish County Meath. In each chamber megalithic structures were installed loudspeakers, through which sounded tones; wherein the selected frequency of greatest intensity of sound vibrations and loudest sound. The chamber resonated with audio waves: wave spread through the corridors, reflected in the stubs and it overlaps on the way back, reinforcing the sound. Comparing the frequency that gave the most powerful reverb, the researchers were greatly surprised.

Dolmen Of Chun.

Despite the fact that the buildings differed in size, shape and construction materials, they resonated in a very low frequency range: 95-112 Hertz, which is consistent with the vocal range of the human voice, at least, the masculine baritone. Found in similar buildings human remains has allowed archaeologists to come to a common conclusion: the buildings were used as burial chambers. The researchers wondered whether the resonant quality, which are specific to each camera, to indicate that either before or during the burial chambers were performed ritual chants? The depth and reverberation of the voices, sounding at the resonant frequency of the chamber, is greatly enhanced; because of this, you may “create a stable impression of the presence of supernatural forces – gods or spirits of ancestors”.

Scientists from the University of reading has studied the acoustic properties Camster-Round corridor of the Neolithic tombs in Scotland, analyzed on the example of exact copies of the resonant properties of the structure. And found: because the tomb is built as a narrow corridor leading to a round chamber, the whole building must resonate on the bottle type. This type of resonance is observed in the Helmholtz resonator is a bottle with a neck, into which blowing; the air in the bottle expands and contracts as one unit, creating the sound. Scientists have discovered that the camera is arranged in such a way as to resonate on the bottle type, producing the sound inside the chamber (it is much more probable than the assumption, that people in the stone age gathered at the entrance to the chamber and carefully blew inside). Made in a certain scale model showed a resonance within the structure needs to be 4-5 Hz. But wait a minute! This is much below the range of the human voice and, for that matter, the range of tonality of musical instruments. Sounds below 20 Hz humans can’t even hear. Really slender theory that stone age religious songs during the rituals made the camera Camster-Round to resonate, crumbled to pieces?

Cordigera tomb of Newgrange (Ireland).

But scientists didn’t think so. In their opinion, there must be a method that allows you to build up sound vibrations even at so low frequencies. A pure tone consists of pressure oscillations, which to our ear as the sound is not captured. Only when the vibrations follow one another continuously, our eardrums vibrate with a speed more than twenty times per second, and we distinguish the note. But when beats the drum at a speed four to five times per second will occur audible sounds, repeated with a frequency of 4-5 Hertz. Each such strike causes the sound wave vibrations (like oscillations, consists of a pure tone), but stroke should reverb the skin of the drum – it is what we hear.

Stony Littleton barrow of the Neolithic age found Somerset, not far from my house. What if he acted on the principle of a resonating chamber, attached to the religious hymns of great sonority?

and, therefore, we hear a drum roll at a speed four times per second, even if this frequency is not sufficient to our brain connected the beats to the sound of a certain height.

Meanwhile, it’s time to move forward with our drum straight to Scotland.

Scientists gathered in the burial chamber audience and began to beat the drum at a speed of four strokes per second (frequency in Hertz 4). Listening to the audience later confessed that during the drum battle they have any unusual sensations they felt as if the sound has a definite impact on their heart rate and breathing. Some said that if the drumbeat lasted longer, they would have increased respiration. But while the blows of the same power, but slower, which space is not resonated, such complaints were fewer.

The burial chamber in the mound stony Littleton (England).

Of course, such feelings – a subjective thing, however, when NASA scientists during the design of the rocket studied the effects of vibration on the human body, they found that different parts of the human body resonate at different frequencies. Separate the internal organs at certain frequencies to vibrate more intense, causing a substantial “lockup vital body functions and discomfort”. And what is the resonant frequency of the human body? Yes exactly, what the researchers came to the burial chamber in Camster-Round – 4-5 Hertz.

Maybe the people of the Neolithic period, beating the drum and causing infrasound resonance, believed that communicating with spirits, deities or ancestors? Research of the 1970-ies have shown that at a frequency of 4-5 Hertz people experience dizziness and generally feeling down (vibration increase, responding in internal organs), but also fall into a drowse, it makes them feel like they are swaying and on the verge of falling. Maybe the architects of the stone age in the design of buildings take into account their particular resonance characteristics? However, if the resonant sound seemed to them the sound of the underworld, called infrasound vibrations in their own bodies and even changed their minds? Interestingly, and disturbed neighbors to their conscience they have not cried?

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