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Noisy Caves

Man, I am on an archaeological roll! Again, also posted in my other blog:

Another article today that discusses Upper Paleolithic peoples’ understanding of acoustics, and how cave art is often placed at the exact locations where acoustics are best in a cave. Archaeologists have also found flutes in the caves and are trying to determine if the flutes were connected to the cave paintings and their placement in any way.
Iegor Reznikoff, a specialist in ancient music at the University of Paris X in Nanterre featured in the article, also points out the sound-painting connection at certain sites in Finland and France near lakes and other outdoor locations. There has also been correlation shown between Native American pictographs in California deserts and seismic fault lines (I’ll add a link as soon as I can find it again).

music

Archaeology News

This was also posted in my other blog, The Art of Science:

First news item: the cave paintings at Lascaux (France) are currently being threatened by mold. One of the possible causes: bright lights. The caves have a history of threats, all directly or indirectly caused by humans. This case exemplifies the hard challenges faced with old artifacts – or just limited natural resources in general – and weighing the benefits of preservation/isolation, scientific intervention and study, and public access to knowledge and such resources.

Next up: The re-creation of musical instruments from Central America. The story discusses Roberto Velazquez, a musical historian/archaeologist/mechanical engineer who studies ancient musical instruments found in archaeological sites all over Central America and recreates them and experiments with their sounds. What is not mentioned but inferred is the spectral analysis done on these instruments in order to determine what they are made out of – clay mostly, but also feathers, reeds, frog bones? – and how to recreate them. Velazquez will also experiment with making sounds with the flutes and whistles, and some of them are really eery; there is a sound clip with samples of all the different sounds, and I was not prepared for the first sounds that they played. It was from the appropriately-named Whistle of Death, and it is creepy to put it mildly.

*Edit*: exclusive only to Complex Interplay and MSNBC: Archaeologists have determined when Odysseus finally made it home.