thinking about archaeology

Good vibrations

Here’s another acoustic study of Stonehenge that just arrived on my desktop. I haven’t read the full study, but judging from the press release, which I’ve reproduced in full below, it’s got more going for it than some of the others. Phrases I like:

“The present day Stonehenge shows a few weak echoes and no noticeable reverberation, but because of its derelict state these results cannot be considered as representative of the original building.”

“The data gathered does not unequivocally reveal whether the site was designed with acoustics in mind… [but] shows that the space reacted to acoustic activity in a way that would have been noticeable to the Neolithic man.”

Compare and contrast…

And here are the links:

Measuring the acoustics of Stonehenge

A stereo rendition of a folk band singing within the Maryhill replica

The photo shows what Stonehenge sounded like by the A303 today.

One response

  1. Jon

    “One of the first questions that get asked is ‘how much does the difference in material between stones (at Stonehenge) and concrete (at Maryhill) have in the acoustic response?’ In my view, not much. Both materials are quite massive and highly reflective over the frequency range of interest. The stones at Stonehenge are naturally less regular in shape which causes some mid to high frequency diffusion. However, the concrete stones at Maryhill have also been worked to have non flat surfaces.”

    The surfaces at Maryhill were constructed using wooden forms lined with crumpled tin. To form crumpled tin surfaces, some parts of the tin are directly fixed to the former (or the former is exposed), which means that part of the surface has a direct plane of reflection. In the case of Maryland, this looks to be a very high percentage of the surface area with the former exposed to about 50% of its surface area.

    By comparison, Stonehenge must have been worked to its surface and this surface has had at least 4000 years of weathering: The original surface of Stonehenge may therefore have been significantly more irregular, sharper, and thus liable to diffuse or annul higher range frequencies.

    April 18, 2012 at 5:49 pm

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