Scientists Map Stonehenge’s Soundscape
Study of small-scale model sheds light on how conversation, music moved through the massive monument
Sep 2, 2020
A new analysis of a small-scale acoustic model of Stonehenge suggests that people who spoke or played music inside of the ancient monument would have heard noticeable reverberations, reports Bruce Bower for Science News. The findings are published in the October issue of the Journal of Archaeological Science.
To assess the prehistoric circle’s amplifying effects, scientists at the University of Salford’s Acoustic Research Center 3-D-printed 27 unique stones measuring one-twelfth of the originals’ size. Then they used silicone molds and plaster to create copies of the rocks, stopping upon reaching 157 total, or the estimated number of standing stones present at Stonehenge some 4,200 years ago. Finally, the team tested the model in a room with walls that absorbed sound to gauge how the blocks reflected noise and created a unique acoustic experience.