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Monday, July 21, 2014

How The Ancients Used Sound

Hal Saflieni (ca. 3600 BCE)There's a little-known scientific field known as archaeoacoustics that studies the sound of historical environments and its effects on the human body. These environments can vary from ancient temples to caves, but it's been discovered that they all have a similar quality - a resonant frequency between 70 and 130Hz.

Most of the cavities that archaeoacoustics study are spiritual in nature, and the theory is that the exposure to the resonant frequency of the chamber has a physical effect on human brain activity, even to the point of triggering a different state of consciousness without the use of chemical substances.

One of these chambers currently under study is a 5,000 year old Hypogeum, an underground mortuary temple on the Mediterranean island of Malta with a space known as "The Oracle Room" that yields strong double resonant frequencies at 70Hz and 114 Hz. A deep male voice tuned to these frequencies can stimulate the resonances and create a bone-chilling 8 second reverberation that reportedly provides the illusion of sound reflecting from the body to the ancient wall paintings, but leaves the listener with a great sensation of relaxation.

What's especially interesting is that the acoustics of this chamber didn't come naturally. Man-made carving on the ceiling revealed what amounted to a wave guide, suggesting that the designers of the room knew much more about acoustics and their effects on the human body than we know or care about today.

W e often think that because we have such sophisticated gear that it automatically makes us superior to those that have gone before us. In reality it seem that there's been a vast treasure trove of knowledge that's been lost through the ages that we're lucky to discover enough bits and pieces of every so often.

There's a really great website at archaeoacoustics.org that has a lot of information and audio samples regarding this discipline and its work. Not only that, it's a lot more modern and accessible than most sites about scientific research. Check out the video below as well.


1 comment:

Rand said...

Great article and very educational, thanks Bobby;-)


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