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Cave acoustics in prehistory: exploring the association of Palaeolithic visual motifs and acoustic response

Fazenda, Bruno, Scarre, Chris, Till, Rupert, Pasalodos, Raquel J., Guerra, Manuel R., Tejedor, Cristina, Peredo, Roberto O., Watson, Aaron, Wyatt, Simon, Benito, Carlos G., Drinkall, Helen and Foulds, Frederick (2017) Cave acoustics in prehistory: exploring the association of Palaeolithic visual motifs and acoustic response. Journal of the Acoustical Society of America (JASA), 142 (3). pp. 1332-1349. ISSN 1520-8524

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During the 1980s, acoustic studies of Upper Palaeolithic imagery in French caves—using the technology then available— suggested a relationship between acoustic response and the location of visual motifs. This paper presents an investigation, using modern acoustic measurement technology, into such relationships within the caves of La Garma, Las Chimeneas, La Pasiega, El Castillo and Tito Bustillo, in Northern Spain. It addresses methodological issues concerning acoustic measurement at enclosed archaeological sites and outlines a general framework for extraction of acoustic features that may be used to support archaeological hypotheses. The analysis explores possible associations between the position of visual motifs (which may be up to 40,000 years old) and localized acoustic responses. Results suggests that motifs, in general, and lines and dots, in particular, are statistically more likely to be found in places where reverberation is moderate and where the low frequency acoustic response might have audible resonances. The work presented suggests that an association of the location of Palaeolithic motifs with acoustic features is a weak but tenable hypothesis, and that an appreciation of sound could have influenced behavior among Palaeolithic societies of this region.

Item Type: Article
Subjects: C Auxiliary Sciences of History > CC Archaeology
N Fine Arts > NA Architecture
T Technology > T Technology (General)
Schools: School of Music, Humanities and Media
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Depositing User: Sally Hughes
Date Deposited: 12 Sep 2017 07:51
Last Modified: 28 Aug 2021 16:03


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