domingo, 16 de marzo de 2014

Sound and prehistoric art in caves

Significant evidence exists for the importance of organised sound in prehistory. Research in this area has progressed for over 30 years, as within the International Council for Traditional Music (ICTM) and International Study Group for Music Archaeology (ISGMA).

     A number of archaeological finds that are thought to be musical instruments have been found in caves. Particularly well known are bone flutes. The discovery of a fairly advanced example of an aerophone dated to 40,000 BP emphasises the complex nature of such artefacts, even during the Palaeolithic period, yet surviving artefacts are not the sole method of examining prehistoric sounds.

     Discussions with researchers at the universities of Valladolid and Zaragoza in Spain led to a project exploring the relationships of Palaeolithic cave art with sound, music and acoustics. Dr Rupert Till (University of Huddersfield, UK) and Dr Bruno Fazenda (University of Salford, UK), who had together previously explored the acoustics of Stonehenge, visited caves in Asturias and Cantabria in the summer of 2012 to carry out a pilot study. Till, Fazenda, and Professor Chris Scarre (Durham University, UK) carried out a fully funded research project in 2013.

     The acoustics within a cave are strikingly different from those outside. Many activities in the cave would have made sound, whether talking and moving, or grinding and preparing pigments for painting.

     A high quality digital record made between 2004 and 2007 of the imagery within Tito Bustillo cave (Spain) resulted in the discovery of unknown decorated spaces, and a pit in the Gallery of the Anthropomorphs which contained ochre and crushed bone, teeth and shell dated to around 33,000 years BP, suggesting a far greater age than previously thought for at least some of the imagery.

     The Songs of the Caves project thoroughly investigates the acoustic environment of the Asturian cave of Tito Bustillo, as well as four Cantabrian caves - La Garma, El Castillo, Las Chimeneas and La Pasiega - examining the hypothetical relationship between the acoustic environment and the placement of imagery in caves, and exploring such acoustics experimentally.  [...] (B&W 3)

Discover more about it on website.
The next four films document a research trip in summer 2012 to investigate the acoustics and sounds of caves that are part of the Altamira world heritage site. The team explored the effectiveness of musical instruments and acoustic test sounds inside the caves.

Vídeos YouTube por Rupert Till añadidos a Paleo Vídeos > Prehistoria de España y Portugal > L.R.1.8 nº 17 a 20.

Actualización: Related audio: Echoes in the Dark

Episode one of Noise: A Human History, a thirty-part series made in collaboration with the British Library Sound Archive.

What do caves tell us about the mind and beliefs of Neolithic people? With no scientific explanation to hand for the phenomenon of the echo, it was natural to assume it was a spirit voice.

Certain echoes sounded like the galloping hooves of beasts; others like the fluttering wings of birds. These echoes appeared to come from the rocks themselves. They moved, they were uncanny - all this hinting at a 'spirit world' within.

Professor David Hendy from the University of Sussex visits the caves of Arcy-sur-Cure in Burgundy with musicologist Iegor Reznikoff to listen to evidence deep underground next to paintings of bison and birds. (Clips)  / Full

Actualización 08-05-14Canciones de las cuevas  /  Songs from the caves : Archaeology News from Past Horizons
El proyecto "Canciones de las cuevas" tiene como objetivo explorar la acústica de las cuevas prehistóricas con pinturas del norte de España, a fin de establecer si se puede encontrar una relación interna segura, entre el posicionamiento de los motivos figurativos y los efectos sonoros. El sonido tiene el potencial de proporcionar una información que no está disponible sólo estudiando las propiedades visuales o materiales...

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Actualización: Related audio: Echoes in the Dark