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of potential experiences. Lubman’s documentation and acous- tical analysis of the sonic enhancement effect of medieval Eu- ropean shrine architecture demonstrates a physical basis for the spiritually transformative experience recounted in histori- cal documents and elaborated in literature.
Sound as Archaeological
Evidence: Archaeoacoustical Theory
and Method
Disciplinary Background: Studying Sound in Archaeology Because archaeology employs experts from many fields, the exploration of sound-related archaeological concerns by acousticians might seem a typical collaboration. However, acoustical science is a novel and infrequent addition to the archaeological toolkit, with sonic concerns typically given cursory mention if not ignored. Until recently (e.g., Scarre and Lawson, 2006), sound as a topic for archaeological in- quiry was assumed common sense or relegated to musicolo- gists, who primarily deal with nonsonic musical culture, such as textual and graphical representations of musical practices or the reconstruction of instruments and tuning systems. The habitual dismissal of sound as a topic for archaeological study may relate to the mismatch between ephemeral un- derstandings of sound and the premise of contemporary ar- chaeology. Archaeologists investigate human experience in- directly, inferring human actions on things and places from material evidence (such as “use-wear” marks on objects) rather than from direct accounts by individuals. Despite its material basis, archaeology often incorporates knowledge from the ethnographic work of anthropology or ethnomusi- cology, where testimonials and practices are recorded from living humans, or from the narratives that constitute writ- ten history, to form analogical or corroborative arguments. In practice, archaeological interpretation is a nuanced pro- cess of identifying and interrelating converging forms of evi- dence of human actions and related environmental factors.
Sensory Phenomena in Archaeology
Both archaeology and acoustics focus on materials. The inferential logic that transforms sound into archaeological material requires a discussion of mechanics and relation- ships. Such conceptualization is not unlike the logic that archaeologists use to trace the effects of human actions and environmental processes on cultural materials. However, studying sound and humans requires an examination of sen- sory, perceptual, and cognitive aspects of sonic experience. Human-produced and received sounds have physiological and psychological ramifications, studied via psychology in
the direct study of living humans. In contrast, archaeology is about the indirect study of human life via materials. Al- though in recent decades, archaeology has taken an experi- ential turn (e.g., Shanks, 1992; Hamilakis, 2013), with grow- ing discourse around sensory concerns (Day, 2013) and even incorporating cognitive neuroscience (Renfrew et al., 2009), such literature typically discusses sound from a philosophi- cal rather than a scientific perspective.
Archaeoacousticians directly address the sensory implica- tions of material archaeology and, although often reference psychoacoustical quantities, infrequently apply auditory scientific methodologies in detailed studies of archaeologi- cal sites or materials. My dissertation research leveraged experimental psychoacoustics to evaluate experiential im- plications of Chavín’s interior acoustics, situating systematic auditory localization experiments within the archaeological architecture (Kolar, 2013). In these experiments, the sound stimulus was a recording of a site-excavated conch shell horn (a Chavín pututu), chosen for both its ecological valid- ity to the archaeological context and its sonic characteristics of a noisy attack and tonal sustain. To facilitate a consistent stimulus across all combinations of source and listener loca- tions, the pututu sound stimulus was recorded with a mi- crophone located at the instrument bell and reproduced in the experiment through matching single-driver, directional loudspeakers (Meyer MM-4XP) calibrated to 96 dB(A) at 1 meter to approximate the sound level and directionality of these conch shell horns. Figure 3 is an architectural illus- tration from survey data of one of the two Chavín galleries where the experiment took place, with a scaled 1.68-meter human figure depicting eight sequentially tested participant positions with facing directions (labeled “POS”) and six separately sounding stimulus locations (labeled “SOURCE”) where loudspeakers were directed away from nearest walls. The experiment produced data towards understanding how the waveguide-like architecture influences localization cues in this purported ritual environment (Kolar, 2013), research that initiated what I refer to as “sensory-spatial mapping” of the archaeological setting.
Reconstructing and Interpreting Archaeological Sound
Although this article features experimental archaeoacous- tics research that explores extant architecture, instruments, and sites, some archaeoacoustics work is more theoretical, based on reconstructions using computational modeling techniques and dynamical estimations. For experimental observation, whether in situ or in models, sound must be generated via some form of vibratory excitation or a mod-
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