Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Did Otherworldly Music Inspire Stonehenge?

Did otherworldly music inspire Stonehenge? Researcher Steven Waller proposes another theory about the stone circle's purpose.
Five thousand years ago, so the legend goes, two pipers played in a field while a circle of merry maidens danced around them. Then they all turned to stone, leaving Stonehenge to mystify us for millennia. Other theories about the stone circle's purpose include an alien observatory, a burial site and an acoustic stadium.

Here at the American Association for the Advancement of Science meeting in Vancouver, Canada, archaeoacoustician Steven Waller - an independent researcher based in La Mesa, California - threw yet another idea into the mix. The stone circle, he says, may have been inspired by an auditory illusion that occurs when two identical instruments, such as pipes, play the same note at the same time. A person walking in a circle around the pipers hears the note's volume decrease at certain points where the two sound waves collide and cancel one another out. At these spots, it sounds as though a giant pillar is blocking the sound. Read more