Paul Devereux discusses his book Stone Age Soundtracks – The Acoustic Archaeology of Ancient Sites. Until recently, almost all archaeological insights have been gleaned by looking at ancient remains. Now archaeologists are starting to think beyond the visual. One of the most exciting branches of the new multi-sensory archaeology is archaeoacoustics, the archaeology of sound. Ancient civilizations developed far more than fine artwork and magnificent monuments. In songs to their gods, laments for their dead, and the universal human quest for the supernatural, people also made some very strange noises.
Boulders and stalactites incised with prehistoric rock art that ring like bells and gongs, a Bronze Age ‘stone drum’ alongside a Russian lake that can be heard for miles when struck, ancient rock paintings and petroglyphs that have secret ‘soundtracks’, Mayan ruins that emit echoes mimicking the calls of sacred birds, mysterious temples and tombs possessing eerie acoustic effects, Amazonian shamans who use subtle sounds to guide people through drug-induced visionary states, Stone Age musical instruments, and megalithic sites that seem to move when subjected to certain sounds… all this and much more is explored in Stone Age Soundtracks. ”’Without acoustics, archaeology is deaf…’ And in looking back to hear the old stones speak, maybe we can learn how to move forward.
Gary Evans – Listening to the Past
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