NEXT MEETING: Wednesday, December 15, 2021, online via Zoom, it's the GCAS special holiday meeting starting at the very special time of 6:00 PM. It may not be a “party” in our group's traditional sense, but we anticipate having a slideshow of archaeological images of solstice markers, followed by a slideshow of the AMAZING progress on our new Library and Workspace/Lab in the Wood House at the Mimbres Culture Heritage Site, and a reading of Marilyn Markel's annual poem wrapping up the year behind us. If any member has anything they wish to contribute to the fun, be it slideshows, games, announcements, or any etc., please contact Kyle ASAP at kyyote@msn.com . The more the merrier!

NEXT FIELD TRIP = TBA - watch this space for details as they develop.

GCAS Trustees and Officers for 2021
To Repeat: Everything Helps the GCAS MAREC Project

New Studies in Archaeoacoustics

StonehengeRegular readers of this here site know that we generally prefer focusing our news on what's happening archaeologically in our own Southwest US/Northern Mexico region. However, we remain open-minded enough to occasionally publish news from further afield, especially when it contains implications for our own area. In this case, the article's headline is fully descriptive:

"A Remarkable New Study Suggests That Stonehenge Was Built to Amplify Sound During Ancient Ruling-Class Rituals - The stones also worked as a sound chamber, keeping outside noise out."

Acoustics engineers at the University of Salford in Manchester made a 1:12 scale model of Stonehenge to demonstrate its acoustic properties—which may have been integral to its use:

"The study found that people who spoke or played music inside the monument would have heard clear reverberations against the massive standing stones. Testing on the model also suggests that the stones increased the volume on interior sound, kept exterior sound out, and made it hard for anyone outside the structure to hear what was going on inside....There is also speculation that some of the smaller stones used in the ancient site’s construction may have been chosen for their musical qualities. Making a sound much like a metallic gong when struck, they could have been used as percussion instruments..."

IMG_1585We've previously blogged about lithophones (ancient stone percussion instruments) that have been found at sites throughout the greater US Southwest. Archaeologists have similarly studied rock alcoves, cliff faces, and other natural formations at sites like Chaco Canyon, New Mexico, and Horseshoe Canyon, Utah, for their acoustic properties. Extending the hypothesis, other natural rock formations like those found at City of Rocks State Park in New Mexico may also have acoustic properties that ancient inhabitants might have incorporated into performances and ceremonies. Perhaps further investigation may disclose a relationship between these acoustic properties and the location of an isolated prehistoric structure that the crew from Eastern New Mexico University excavated at City of Rocks in 2019.

/s/ webmaster [Photo of Stonehenge, via Getty Images. Photo of City of Rocks, via William Hudson.]

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