Bradshaw Foundation - Latest News

BRADSHAW FOUNDATION - LATEST NEWS

 

Acoustics and Rock Art

29 Oct 2014
Bradshaw Foundation
Article

An article on heritagedaily.com - Ancient Auditory Illusions reflected in Prehistoric Art? - ponders whether some of humankind's earliest artistic achievements, including prehistoric cave paintings, rock petroglyphs and megalithic structures such as Stonehenge, may have been inspired by the sound waves.

megalithic structures such as Stonehenge, may have been inspired by sound waves

Steven J. Waller of Rock Art Acoustics is currently addressing the Acoustical Society of America (ASA) about the influence of sound on the psyche.

'Ancient mythology explained echoes from the mouths of caves as replies from spirits, so our ancestors may have made cave paintings in response to these echoes and their belief that echo spirits inhabited rocky places such as caves or canyons. Just as light can be reflected, so too can sound, perhaps from a reflecting plane such as a large cliff face. This can result in an auditory illusion of somebody answering you from within the rock; echoes of clapping within a cave may represent thundering hooves.'

Waller's theory, he claims, is supported by acoustic measurements, which show statistically significant correspondence between the rock art sites and locations with the strongest sound reflection.

Waller recently travelled to England to carry out experiments at Stonehenge. He demonstrated that 'Stonehenge does indeed radiate acoustic shadows that recreate the same pattern as interference.' 

The implication of this research, and of archaeoacoustics - the use of acoustical study as a methodological approach within archaeology - in general, is that it demonstrates that acoustical phenomena were culturally significant to prehistoric populations. Indeed, natural soundscapes of archaeological sites should be preserved for further study.

Editor's Note
Sound was a primary focus for accumulating knowledge, culture and information in prehistory, as a great deal of transmission happened using language (the acoustic), rather than writing (the visual). Even today, the 'acoustic' is the poor relative of the 'visual', as any film maker will tell you.

Therefore we can expect to find as much out about a rock art site or a megalithic site by investigating its acoustic properties. This is perhaps especially the case in a site that does not seem to be designed for strictly functional purposes such as accommodation or defence, as music and sound are often to be found at the core of cultural, communal and ritual activities.

The rock art sites of Huashan in southern China, archaeologists argue, are a case in point; the symbols of drums depicted in the rock art were not accidental. Large bronze drums, intricately cast, would have been part of the 'prehistoric ceremony of the local ethnic culture', played from the land across the river towards the cliffs adorned with rock art.

Listen to the work of Dr Rupert Till - 'Sounds of Stonehenge':

http://www.bradshawfoundation.com/stonehenge/stonehenge_sounds/index.php

 

COMMENTS

 
JOIN US ON FACEBOOK
LATEST NEWS ARTICLES
 
LATEST ROCK ART
LATEST CAVE PAINTINGS
24 Nov 2014
LATEST PALEOANTHROPOLOGY
18 Nov 2014
LATEST ARCHAEOLOGY
LATEST ANTHROPOLOGY
LATEST WORLD HERITAGE
Bradshaw FoundationAboutiShopBook ReviewSite MapMailing ListDonateFacebookTwitterContact
If you have enjoyed visiting this section of the website please consider adding a link
Bradshaw Foundation © MMXI
Homepage About the Foundation Contact Us Facebook News Articles Twitter List of Research Papers Professor Stephen Oppenheimer Travel Index About the Expeditions Forthcoming Expeditions Bespoke Expeditions Enquire Practical Information History of Exploration Welcome to the iShop Film Downloads DVD's Sculpture Prints Clothing Messenger Bag eBooks INORA Downloads About iLecture Films Shipping & Handling iLectures In Conversation Video Stories Travel Films Read the reviews Join the free Mailing List Bradshaw Foundation Facebook Friends of the Foundation Archive Index World's Oldest Rock Art Africa Documentary Films South Africa RARI Giraffe Carvings Niger Namibia Western Central Africa Africa Paintings Gallery Tanzania The Tuareg People Tuareg Salt Caravans Gilf Kebir Archive Index San Rock Art Paintings San Bushman San Rock Art Film Origins Centre Johannesburg Archive Index Arizona Baja California Coso Range Nevada Oregon Territory Australia Archive Index Introduction Bradshaw Paintings Kimberley Region The Unambal Hugh Brown Leif Thiele Gallery Dan Clark Grahame Walsh Ian Wilson Bradshaws / Gwion Gwion Archive Index Introduction Origins of the British Stonehenge Sounds of Stonehenge The British Museum British Isles Megaliths Gower Peninsula Rock Art Mendip Hills Prehistory Northumberland Rock Art Red Lady of Paviland Stone Age Mammoth Abattoir Archive Index Yinchuan Museum Rock Art Festival Field Trip Gallery Itinerant Creeds Inner Mongolia & Ningxia Vanishing Civilization Life in Rock Art (PDF) Tibet Tibet Photographs Dazu Rock Carvings Tiger Motif Archive Index Chauvet Cave Lascaux Cave Niaux Cave Cosquer Cave Portable Art Research Paper Tuc d'Audoubert Bison Dr. Jean Clottes Index UNESCO World Heritage Introduction Cave Paintings Gallery Visiting the Chauvet Cave Return to Chauvet Cave Investigating the Cave Venus & Sorcerer Werner Herzog Film Chauvet Publications India Archive Index Rock Art Central India Pachmarhi Hills India Rock Art Gallery Middle East Archive Index Middle East Inroduction Rock Art of Iran Rock Art of Saudi Arabia United Arab Emirates Rock Art Ancient Geometry Middle East Colonisation Tanum Rock Art Museum Thor Heyerdahl Archive Index Introduction America's Oldest Art? Pedra Furada Bolivian Rock Art Campeche Island - Brazil Checta Petroglyphs - Peru Cueva de las Manos Santa Catarina Island - Brazil Rock Art in Britain Campeche Rock Art Petroglyphs El Salvador - Corinto Cave Hand Rock Art Paintings Tibetan Rock Art United Arab Emirates Uzbekistan Yinchuan Rock Art Museum Introduction Ice Age Art Gallery Claire Artemyz Jill Cook Interview Cycladic Introduction Cycladic Gallery Introduction Geometric Signs Chart Research Methodology Geometric Signs in France Sign Types/Countries/Regions Bibliography Ancient Symbols in Rock Art Newsletter Archive Download Issues Introduction Genetic Map Professor Stephen Oppenheimer Further Reading Origins of the British BBC Documentary Origins Index Origins Overview 13 Big Questions Stanley Ambrose Homo Floresiensis Herto Skulls Homo Dmanisi Liujiang Skull Introduction Sentinels in Stone Easter Island Rock Art Birdman Cult / Motif Sea & Marine Creatures Design & Motifs Dr Georgia Lee Easter Island Map Contemporary Art Glossary Conclusion Thor Heyerdahl Introduction When & Who Built It? How Was It Built? The Area Sounds of Stonehenge Meaning of a Pyramid Pyramid Studies Pyramid Superstructure Pyramid Substructure Pyramid Preparations Pyramid Building Saqqara Nabil Swelim Temples of Malta and Gozo Research in the Caucasus The Keselo Foundation Homo Dmanisi Ancient Toolmakers Index Introduction Descent into the Cave The Decorated Caves Shamanistic Experience Spring Initiation Rites Summary Page 1 Page 2 Page 3 Page 4 Professor John P. Miller Motif: Eternal Index Han Meilin Bruce Radke Christian Tuki Gordon Ellis-Brown Site Map Search the Website Glossary of Terms & Definition Podcast on iTunes Other Websites Contact the Foundation