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Sound - The Lost Secret of the Ancient Monument Builders is Finally Coming to Light!

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posted on Nov, 15 2010 @ 07:36 PM
Mayan “echo machines?”

Maya pyramids pose acoustic riddle

"I think the pyramids were essentially echo machines, built to inspire spiritual feelings," says acoustics expert David Lubman, who will chair a meeting on the "archaeoacoustics" of Maya temples and other archaeological sites this Tuesday in Cancun.

The Pan-American/Iberian Meeting on Acoustics will cover lots about the physics of sounds, but the session looking at the acoustics of Maya centers such as Chichen Itza, Palenque and the 1,000 B.C. Chavin culture of Peru (predecessors to the Incas), looks to be a noisy one. "Archaeologists used to give me funny looks when I talked about this," Lubman says. "But now they are definitely coming around."

In 1998, Lubman published a Journal of the Acoustical Society of America study suggesting that when someone claps in front of the " El Castillo" pyramid at the famous site of Chichen Itza in Mexico's Yucatan, a chirp echo results that sounds like the song of a quetzal bird. Subsequent studies supported the idea, and gave rise to hordes of tourists now clapping away in front of the famous monument, once a temple to the feathered snake god, Kukulkan.

Based on a lot of what I've read (here and elsewhere) I don't think there's any question the Maya were purposely incorporating echos and sound in their pyramids, but the question will always be "how" - they didn't have the science to know how to create, tune, or design for acoustics. So perhaps the first pyramid just "happened" to be perfectly suited to create an echo that played into their spirituality, and that fueled their compassion for building more pyramids.

posted on Nov, 16 2010 @ 05:53 PM
reply to post by Blackmarketeer

I found another article today, confirming what I put in the Op.

Discovery news: Acoustic Archaeology Yielding Mind-Tripping Tricks

Researchers are uncovering the secrets of ancient civilizations who built fun house-like temples that may have scared the pants off worshipers with scary sound effects, light shows and perhaps drug-induced psychedelic trips.

The emerging field of acoustic archaeology is a marriage of high-tech acoustic analysis and old-fashioned bone-hunting. The results of this scientific collaboration is an new understanding of cultures who used sound effects as entertainment, religion and a form of political control.

Miriam Kolar, a researcher at Stanford University's Center for Computer Research and Acoustics, has been studying the 3,000 year-old Chavin culture in the high plains of Peru. Kolar and her colleagues have been mapping a maze of underground tunnels, drains and hallways in which echoes don't sound like echoes.

Check out the link for the full article, I'm wondering if the ancients were aware of the acoustic properties of stone from a time when they lived inside caves, or used them a great deal. Perhaps they understood echoes from living in the Andes and were able to recreate the effect?

Like you say, it could just have been an accident.

All the best, kiwi

posted on Nov, 19 2010 @ 01:04 PM
As an architect, I've got to say, in every ancient site I've seen, the acoustic potentiality is insane!
We're missing so much information in this day and age, power is based on sound. We've got to get with it.

posted on Mar, 8 2012 @ 04:24 PM
I'll add this to this already excellent thread:

Ancient Builders Created Monumental Structures that Altered Sound and Mind, Say Researchers

Europe's first concert hall?

posted on Mar, 19 2012 @ 12:33 AM
reply to post by kiwifoot

Great thread man.

Acoustics archaeology is an underrated subject and needs much attention. Many great discoveries will follow. The ancients seemed to use sound as we use electricity.
edit on 19-3-2012 by Shadow Herder because: (no reason given)

posted on May, 9 2013 @ 06:56 AM
I hadn't realized that this was a global phenomenon at first, but after reading this thread, I'm no longer surprised. I know I'm coming into this discussion awfully late, but I just wanted to add a story that I heard as a freshman in college a number of years ago...

It seems that a few of the undergraduate students in the engineering department wanted to try an experiment over a holiday weekend. They calculated the resonant frequency of the fire exit stairwell in a 12-story dormitory and placed a speaker on the bottom floor under the stairs that played the tone continuously. According to the story, when everyone came back from holiday, the dormitory building was visibly swaying slightly, and the facilities maintenance staff removed the speaker to prevent the building from shearing off at the sixth floor.

Whether that was true or not, I'll never really know. But it was definitely my first exposure to the power of sound on solid objects.

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