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Ancient Maya Temples Were Giant Loudspeakers?

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posted on Dec, 21 2010 @ 08:18 AM

Complexes may have used acoustic design to broadcast—and disorient. Centuries before the first speakers and subwoofers, ancient Americans—intentionally or not—may have been turning buildings into giant sound amplifiers and distorters to enthrall or disorient audiences, archaeologists say.

Temples at the ancient Maya city of Palenque (map) in central Mexico, for example, might have formed a kind of "unplugged" public-address system, projecting sound across great distances, according to a team led by archaeologist Francisca Zalaquett of the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México.Zalaquett's team recently discovered that Palenque's Northern Group of public squares and temples—built around roughly A.D. 600—is especially good at projecting the human voice as well as sounds like those that would have been made by musical instruments found at the site

The Maya built many types of musical instruments, including rattling gourds filled with seeds or stones, turtle shells played with deer antlers, as well as whistles, ocarinas, modified seashells, and other wind instruments, said Zalaquett, who presented the Palenque findings at a recent meeting of the Acoustical Society of America in Cancún, Mexico.

Performers and priests may have stood atop these temples or in specialized projection rooms, which still exist, to broadcast songs and chants throughout the squares. The Maya are known to have to held public rites to commemorate enthronements, births of nobles, and war victories as well as to honor deities, Zalaquett said.


I also found this little piece on another example: Mayans ‘played’ pyramids to make music for rain god

Sit on the steps of Mexico’s El Castillo pyramid in Chichen Itza and you may hear a confusing sound. As other visitors climb the colossal staircase their footsteps begin to sound like raindrops falling into a bucket of water as they near the top. Were the Mayan temple builders trying to communicate with their gods?

The discovery of the raindrop “music” in another pyramid suggests that at least some of Mexico’s pyramids were deliberately built for this purpose. Some of the structures consist of a combination of steps and platforms, while others, like El Castillo, resemble the more even-stepped Egyptian pyramids.


I guess it isn't hard to believe. But, did they do it by what they wanted or did they build what others wanted? Like a superior race (aliens). Or did their ancetors just happen to come upon them in the jungle?

i am sure they could whoop some good old freaky sounds with a mega booster like that. Maybe they were totally fascinated with sound-what we take a lot for granted today.

Thoughts? i just lovet the Mayan stuff that gets found and put on this site. It's gotten my interest.

posted on Dec, 21 2010 @ 10:36 AM
Music has always fascinated me in that i can listen to one type of music and think clearly, and with another get ready for a competitve sport, whilst another i can relax too.

Music can do wonderful things to humans, and maybe during ceremonies, Im betting that even the elite of their times, used harmonics of some sort to change or influence the moods of the poulation, to suit their coming needs.

When i watch space you tube videos or watch something that is touching or imprtant, the sound with the movie can make or break it.

Nice find that, I could see it happening in honesty.

posted on Dec, 21 2010 @ 10:44 AM
I've been to the pyramid at Chitchen Itza. If you clap your hands while facing the stairs, the echo comes back changed. It doesn't sound like a hand clap, it sounds like a bird chirping. They say it represents the Quetzal bird.

posted on Dec, 21 2010 @ 10:52 AM
reply to post by NashvilleCat

I've been too, and i wish I had read this before...

As i got to the top, and just took in the view, I would have loved to have tried this out.

Unfortunately you cant climb it now. Three years after I went there, a couple of french tourists i think fell from the top.


I wonder if the falling sound changed whilst sitting at the top.

posted on Dec, 21 2010 @ 12:19 PM
reply to post by multichild

At first I thought.... fell off the top... hmmmm.

Then I look at the picture real close. I then realized that once someone's momentum is going one way-down... you're pretty much screwed.

I guess that event would have made some usual sounds at the place. Or rather, sounds that the place hasn't heard in a LONG time (torture-sacrafices etc).

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