Archaeoacoustics: Spaces and Sound in the Ancient World

Something deserving more investigation: “bringing a new dimension to what we know about our past”

The field is an application of the sense of hearing to the science of archaeology.  We are particularly interested in the role acoustic behavior may have had in the development and design of important architecture and ritual spaces throughout the ancient western world.

Preliminary studies have shown that manmade prehistoric chambers still resonate at a sound wave frequency which appears to shift brain activity in the prefrontal cortex; just as the rooms would have done when they were created.  This shifting is believed to emphasize a part of the brain that deals with creativity, mood and emotional processing.

What effect could this have had on the people who used such spaces?  Was the phenomenon deliberately manipulated?  How did it impact in human development?  What practices seem to reflect an early human desire to “tune in”?  Why?  Can we apply this information today?

A UNESCO World Heritage Site: Malta’s Hal-Saflieni Hypogeum presents an incomparable surviving example that begs to be explored.

The intent of this conference is to provide a forum for expanding previous conceptions and introducing new methodologies, while exploring the importance of sound in the ancient world, with focused expertise from a variety of backgrounds:

  • Anthropology
  • Archaeology
  • Architecture
  • Art History
  • Biofeedback
  • History
  • Music
  • Neurology
  • Physics
  • Psychophysiology

“Many of us may be too surrounded by noise to ever consider an ancient tradition of sculpting with sound.”


Unexpected relevance is on the horizon.

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