"I have sworn upon the altar of God, eternal hostility against every form of tyranny over the mind of man."

Thomas Jefferson
Sept. 23, 1800

Monday, January 5, 2009

Ancient Britons "Rocked Out" At Stonehenge

Was Stonehenge once the scene of stone-age concerts?

Dr. Rupert Till, Englishman, musicologist and founding member of the "Chillage People" (no, I am not making that up) thinks maybe Stonehenge was the site of music based ceremonies due to its strange acoustical qualities. He tested the acoustics on a computer model at Huddersfield University and on a life-sized replica of Stonehenge in Washington state.

The original Stonehenge probably had a 'very pleasant, almost concert-like acoustic' that our ancestors slowly perfected over many generations. Because Stonehenge itself is partially collapsed, Dr Till, used a computer model to conduct experiments in sound.

The most exciting discoveries came when he and colleague Dr Bruno Fazenda visited a full-size concrete replica of Stonehenge, which was built as a war memorial by American road builder Sam Hill at Maryhill in Washington state.

He said: 'We were able to get some interesting results when we visited the replica by using computer-based acoustic analysis software, a 3D soundfield microphone, a dodecahedronic (12-faced) speaker, and a huge bass speaker.

'We have also been able to reproduce the sound of someone speaking or clapping in Stonehenge 5,000 years ago.

'The most interesting thing is we managed to get the whole space (at Maryhill) to resonate, almost like a wine glass will ring if you run a finger round it.

'While that was happening a simple drum beat sounded incredibly dramatic. The space had real character; it felt that we had gone somewhere special.'

I'm not sure which is more exciting: knowing Stonehenge has a great sound, knowing there is a life-sized replica of Stonehenge in Washington state or knowing that there is a band called the "Chillage People."

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