Acoustic Archeology: When Megaliths sing

At the end of the Stone Age (c. 4000-2000 BC to Europe) built megalithic structures, most of which are also this day. In addition to earth platforms, single megaliths and their complexes, for example Stonehenge, built in the shape of a circle, many were made in the form of earth chambers, sometimes lined with stone, with one or more corridors for external access, often cruciform shape.

And although only bones were found in them, it is argued that the buildings served exclusively as burial places, it’s impossible – this there could be altars for sacrifices, where they worshiped spirits ancestors.

Acoustic archeology as a science arose recently: scientists studying the acoustic properties of ancient buildings, suggested that the people who designed and built these cameras great attention was paid to the resonant properties of underground premises.

In an attempt to shed light on the principle of operation of these ancients facilities writer Paul Devereaux and Professor Princeton university jan studied the acoustic properties of a number prehistoric underground chambers in the UK and Ireland.

They examined Dolman Chun in Cornwall – dug in the ground megalithic single-chamber burial structure, and Waylands-Smythe in Berkshire – a long mound with stone the tomb.


Acoustic Archeology: When Megaliths SingA photo from open sources

After that, they did a newgrange study – big a corridor tomb with a cruciform chamber, as well as two burial facilities in Loch Crew: all of these facilities are located on territory of the Irish county of Meath.

In the chamber of each megalithic structure were installed loudspeakers through which tones sounded; at the same time was selected frequency of the greatest intensity of sound vibrations and the most loud sound. The cameras resonated thanks to the sound waves: waves propagated through the corridors, reflected at dead ends and, overlapping on the way back, amplified the sound. Comparing frequencies giving the most powerful reverb, the researchers were in considerable degrees are surprised.

Despite the fact that the buildings were significantly different in size, shape and building materials, they all resonated in a very low frequency range: 95-112 hertz, which is consistent the vocal range of the human voice, at least male baritone. Human found in similar buildings the remains allowed archaeologists to come to a general conclusion: buildings were used as burial chambers.

Researchers thought: can resonant qualities, special for each camera, indicate that either before or during burial chambers performed ritual chants? Depth and reverberation of a voice that sounds at the resonant frequency of the camera, significantly enhanced; due to this, it can a lasting impression of the presence of supernatural forces – gods or ancestral spirits. ”

University of Reading Scientists Study Acoustic Properties Camster Round, Neolithic corridor tomb in the territory Scotland, analyzing the example of an exact copy resonant properties of the structure. And they found out: since the tomb is built like narrow corridor leading to a circular chamber, the entire building should resonate like a bottle.

Newgrange (Ireland).

A photo from open sources

This type of resonance is observed in the Helmholtz resonator – a bottle with a neck in which to blow; the air in the bottle expands and compressed as a single unit, giving rise to sound. Scientists have discovered that the camera is designed to resonate like a bottle, producing sound inside the camera (this is much more likely than the assumption that worshipers in the Stone Age gathered at entrance to the chamber and diligently blew inside).

A model performed on a certain scale showed resonance. inside the structure should be 4-5 hertz. However wait a minute! it because it is much lower than the range of the human voice and, if anything off, the key range of musical instruments. Sounds below 20 hertz people do not even hear. Is there a well-balanced theory that in stone age religious songs during rituals forced the camera Camster Round resonate crumbled to smithereens?

But scientists did not think so. In their opinion, should exist a method that allows you to build sound vibrations even when so low frequencies. A pure tone consists of pressure fluctuations, which our ears do not pick up like sound. Only when the vibrations follow one another continuously, our eardrums vibrate at a speed of more than twenty times per second, and we distinguish note.

But when you hit the drum at a speed of four to five times per second just there will be audible sounds repeating with a frequency of 4-5 hertz. Each such blow causes sound waves (like the vibrations that make up a pure tone), but beyond the reverberation of the skin of the drum follows the blow – we hear it already.

Stony Littleton is a Neolithic mound found in Somerset. What if he acted on the principle of a resonating chamber, giving religious chants more sonorous?

and therefore we hear the drum roll at a speed of four times per second, even if such a frequency is insufficient to so that our brain combines blows into a sound of a certain height.

Meanwhile, it’s time to advance straight ahead with our drum Scotland

Scientists gathered an audience in the burial chamber and began to beat into the drum at a speed of four beats per second (frequency of 4 hertz). The listening audience later admitted that during the drum battle they had unusual sensations – they felt like a sound in a certain way affects their pulse and respiration. Some they said that if the drumming lasted longer, they respiration would take place. But during the blows of the same strength, but slower, from which space did not resonate, such there were fewer complaints.

Of course, such sensations are subjective, but when NASA scientists studied the effects of vibration when designing a rocket on the human body, they found that different parts of the body an adult resonate at different frequencies. Separate internal organs vibrate more intensively at certain frequencies, causing a significant “inhibition of the vital functions of the body and unpleasant sensations. “And what is the resonant frequency of human torso? Yes, exactly what the funeral researchers came to cameras in Camster Round, – 4-5 hertz.

Maybe people of the Neolithic era, striking the drum and causing infrasonic resonance, believed to communicate with spirits, deities or ancestors? 1970s studies showed that at a frequency 4–5 hertz people feel dizzy and generally feel not good (vibrations increase, responding in the internal organs), but and fall into drowsiness, they feel as if they swinging and about to fall.

Maybe Stone Age architects in building design took into account their special resonant qualities? However, if the resonant the sound seemed to them the sound of the other world, caused infrasound fluctuations in their own bodies and even changed their minds? Interestingly, but the disturbed neighbors did not appeal to their conscience?

Time Stones Megaliths

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