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

Fazenda, BM, Scarre, C, Till, R, Pasalodos, RJ, Guerra, MJ, Tejedor, C, Peredo, RO, Watson, A, Wyatt, S, Benito, CG, Drinkall, H and Foulds, F 2017, 'Cave acoustics in prehistory : exploring the association of Palaeolithic visual motifs and acoustic response' , Journal of the Acoustical Society of America, 142 (3) .

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Abstract

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 techniques, 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 yrs old) and localized acoustic responses. Results suggest 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 has evidence of resonant behavior. The work presented suggests that an association of the location of Palaeolithic motifs with acoustic features is a statistically weak but tenable hypothesis, and that an appreciation of sound could have influenced behavior among Palaeolithic societies of this region.

Item Type: Article
Schools: Schools > School of Computing, Science and Engineering > Salford Innovation Research Centre (SIRC)
Journal or Publication Title: Journal of the Acoustical Society of America
Publisher: AIP
ISSN: 0001-4966
Related URLs:
Funders: Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC), Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC)
Depositing User: A Johnson
Date Deposited: 11 Sep 2017 12:03
Last Modified: 17 Nov 2017 17:40
URI: http://usir.salford.ac.uk/id/eprint/43731

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