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'Mystifying' Stonehenge may have been designed for sound

London, Thu, 19 Apr 2012 ANI

London, Apr 19 (ANI): Researchers have suggested that Stonehenge could have been built with acoustics in mind like a Greek or Roman theatre.

A team of researchers from the University of Salford spent four years studying the historic site's acoustic properties in an attempt to unravel the mystery of why it was built.

While they could not confirm the exact purpose of the stones, the researchers did find the space reacted to acoustic activity in a way that would have been noticeable to the Neolithic man, the Daily Mail reported.

"Stonehenge is very well known, but people are still trying to find out what it was built for and we thought that doing this research would bring an element of archaeology that so far hasn't been looked at," lead researcher, Bruno Fazenda said.

He insisted that the new area of acoustic science, named archaeoacoustics, could be helpful in the archaeological interpretation of important buildings and heritage sites, some of which may not exist in their original form, like in the case of Stonehenge.

Because the site in Wiltshire is in a derelict state, researchers travelled to Maryhill in the U.S. where a full-sized concrete reconstruction of Stonehenge was constructed in 1929 as a memorial to the soldiers of WWI.

They successfully made proper acoustic measurements that facilitated an investigation into striking acoustic effects such as echoes, resonances and whispering gallery effects.

The second phase comprised the creation of a full 3D audio-rendition of the space using a system comprised of 64 audio channels and loudspeakers especially developed at the University of Salford based on Wave Field Synthesis.

This system allowed a precise and immersive recreation of what Stonehenge would have sounded like.

"This type of research is important because now we can not only see ourselves surrounded by the stones using virtual reality, but we can also listen how the stone structure would have enveloped people in a sonic experience. It is as if we can travel back in time and experience the space in a more holistic way," Dr Fazenda added. (ANI)

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