Ancient communication devices

The science or study of primitive societies and the nature of man.

Moderators: Minimalist, MichelleH

Ancient communication devices

Postby rich » Sat Jun 14, 2008 2:59 pm

The reason I'm opening this is to get a handle on the many forms of long range communication devices the ancients could have used for land or sea.

I can name several:
Drums
Fire
Smoke
Horns
Reflected light
Didgeridoos
Bullroarers

Of these the bullroarer is interesting - just a plank of wood basically with a string and you twirl it. Whats interesting is it's found all over the world, Europe, Asia, India, America, Australia.
In the Americas it was used by a number of tribes - Athabaskan, Hopi, Aztec, Navajo, Apache, and more.
According to Wiki it dates back to around 17000 BC. They give a descent description of it and how it's used ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bullroarer_(music) )

On this site the Aborigines call it the "voice of god" - http://9waysmysteryschool.tripod.com/sa ... s/id9.html

Any body got any other forms the ancients could have used?
It also appears to be used in Shamanism.
i'm not lookin' for who or what made the earth - just who got me dizzy by makin it spin
rich
 
Posts: 486
Joined: Fri Mar 07, 2008 11:08 pm
Location: New York state

Re: Ancient communication devices

Postby john » Sat Jun 14, 2008 4:55 pm

rich wrote:The reason I'm opening this is to get a handle on the many forms of long range communication devices the ancients could have used for land or sea.

I can name several:
Drums
Fire
Smoke
Horns
Reflected light
Didgeridoos
Bullroarers

Of these the bullroarer is interesting - just a plank of wood basically with a string and you twirl it. Whats interesting is it's found all over the world, Europe, Asia, India, America, Australia.
In the Americas it was used by a number of tribes - Athabaskan, Hopi, Aztec, Navajo, Apache, and more.
According to Wiki it dates back to around 17000 BC. They give a descent description of it and how it's used ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bullroarer_(music) )

On this site the Aborigines call it the "voice of god" - http://9waysmysteryschool.tripod.com/sa ... s/id9.html

Any body got any other forms the ancients could have used?
It also appears to be used in Shamanism.



Rich -

This may be of interest to you.

http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/onli ... xbntm.html

Bullroarers, like hematite, are

Another classic example of Multiple Simultaneous Independent Invention,

.........Seeing as how early man had real difficulty traveling

Overland, let alone using watercraft to travel large

Freshwater bodies or the seas..........

Please refer your enquiries to The Club

For a "real" analysis of this phenomenon.


hoka hey


john

and a couple more;

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lithophone

http://ejournal.anu.edu.au/index.php/bi ... ewFile/8/7


j
Last edited by john on Sun Jun 15, 2008 12:40 pm, edited 1 time in total.
"Man is a marvellous curiosity. When he is at his very, very best he is sort of a low-grade nickel-plated angel; at his worst he is unspeakable, unimaginable; and first and last and all the time he is a sarcasm."

Mark Twain
User avatar
john
 
Posts: 1004
Joined: Wed Jul 19, 2006 7:43 pm

Postby rich » Sat Jun 14, 2008 5:40 pm

Ah yes - the "Club" - I'm sure they were there too :lol:

But I did find that link interesting. Added it to my favs list too (which with all the separate folders) now probably has about 40 different folders - with a minimal of 15 links in them - and some have about 40-50 links). Worst part is I actually get to use most of them frequently!

And yup - tghe bullroarers are a lot like the hematite - one of the reasons I singled it out. How good are they for communications over a distance on water??
i'm not lookin' for who or what made the earth - just who got me dizzy by makin it spin
rich
 
Posts: 486
Joined: Fri Mar 07, 2008 11:08 pm
Location: New York state

Postby Sam Salmon » Sat Jun 14, 2008 5:47 pm

Thought by some to predate wooden Drums-Rock gongs-stones used as resonators to broadcast sound.
User avatar
Sam Salmon
 
Posts: 348
Joined: Sun Mar 12, 2006 9:30 am
Location: Vancouver-by-the-Sea

Postby rich » Sat Jun 14, 2008 5:51 pm

Never heard of them before - how do they work?
i'm not lookin' for who or what made the earth - just who got me dizzy by makin it spin
rich
 
Posts: 486
Joined: Fri Mar 07, 2008 11:08 pm
Location: New York state

Postby rich » Sat Jun 14, 2008 6:06 pm

How about birds? Anything in old legends about birds being used as signaling devices between boats??
i'm not lookin' for who or what made the earth - just who got me dizzy by makin it spin
rich
 
Posts: 486
Joined: Fri Mar 07, 2008 11:08 pm
Location: New York state

Postby john » Sat Jun 14, 2008 6:41 pm

All -

Just for fun............

http://australianscreen.com.au/titles/c ... -II/clip2/


john
"Man is a marvellous curiosity. When he is at his very, very best he is sort of a low-grade nickel-plated angel; at his worst he is unspeakable, unimaginable; and first and last and all the time he is a sarcasm."

Mark Twain
User avatar
john
 
Posts: 1004
Joined: Wed Jul 19, 2006 7:43 pm

Postby War Arrow » Sun Jun 15, 2008 9:04 am

Depends what you'd call ancient but the Mexica/Acolhua/Tecpanec Triple Alliance (or Aztecs if you like) reputedly had a far reaching network of couriers - paths with runners set apart by a few miles. The upshot of this was that a message could be sent to from Tenochtitlan in the morning, and would reach the Gulf coast by evening with each runner carrying said message a few miles. This is described in a few colonial sources (I think Diaz, Zorita and Mendieta - though could be wrong) though I'm really not sure how reliable the info is.
Image
User avatar
War Arrow
 
Posts: 783
Joined: Sat Oct 14, 2006 7:05 am
Location: Texas

Postby neilmarr » Sun Jun 15, 2008 10:49 am

I'd heard of bullroarers, but had quite the wrong idea of what they were and how they sound.

If you're interested in the scary -- but no doubt far-reaching -- howling, here's a demonstration: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NvNR9Xo8z3M

What's interesting is that pitch is easily adjusted, so I reckon an expert sender could no doubt broadcast some fairly detailed information to an equally experienced distant audience.

Native Australians call the instrument a 'wife caller'. Makes sense that these ranging hunters might well signal their wives and children to join them at the site of a kill, I guess, and the bullroarer would appear to be a most portable device.

Cheers. Neil
Last edited by neilmarr on Sun Jun 15, 2008 11:13 am, edited 1 time in total.
User avatar
neilmarr
 
Posts: 18
Joined: Sun Jun 08, 2008 10:25 am
Location: Menton/Monaco France

Postby john » Sun Jun 15, 2008 11:07 am

War Arrow wrote:Depends what you'd call ancient but the Mexica/Acolhua/Tecpanec Triple Alliance (or Aztecs if you like) reputedly had a far reaching network of couriers - paths with runners set apart by a few miles. The upshot of this was that a message could be sent to from Tenochtitlan in the morning, and would reach the Gulf coast by evening with each runner carrying said message a few miles. This is described in a few colonial sources (I think Diaz, Zorita and Mendieta - though could be wrong) though I'm really not sure how reliable the info is.


Wr Arrow -

Don't forget about the use of the Quipu, which the runners you mention often carried.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Quipu

http://agutie.homestead.com/files/Quipu_B.htm


hoka hey


john
"Man is a marvellous curiosity. When he is at his very, very best he is sort of a low-grade nickel-plated angel; at his worst he is unspeakable, unimaginable; and first and last and all the time he is a sarcasm."

Mark Twain
User avatar
john
 
Posts: 1004
Joined: Wed Jul 19, 2006 7:43 pm

Postby Sam Salmon » Sun Jun 15, 2008 11:41 am

rich wrote:Never heard of them before - how do they work?


One stone is struck upon another larger one and the sound carries a very long way.

Seems to me I read about them over 15 years ago maybe it was Archaeology Mag, I do remember it was southern Africa for sure.
User avatar
Sam Salmon
 
Posts: 348
Joined: Sun Mar 12, 2006 9:30 am
Location: Vancouver-by-the-Sea

Postby john » Sun Jun 15, 2008 12:27 pm

Sam Salmon wrote:
rich wrote:Never heard of them before - how do they work?


One stone is struck upon another larger one and the sound carries a very long way.

Seems to me I read about them over 15 years ago maybe it was Archaeology Mag, I do remember it was southern Africa for sure.


Sam, Rich -

Couple for ya.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/3520384.stm


and

Rock Art Acoustics in the
Past, Present and Future
The relationship of sound and rock art is reviewed. Ancient legends of supernatural
explanations for echoes are summarized. The hypothesis that unusual acoustics such as
sound reflection influenced the selection of rock art sites and subject matter is examined.
Techniques that have been used for studying the relationship between acoustics and rock
art are described. Results to date are reviewed, including the following new results: 1)
a systematic quantitative study of Hieroglyphic Canyon, Arizona, showing the main
rock art panels occur at the location possessing the greatest intensity of sound reflection,
and 2) quantitative measurement of a ringing rock at Painted Rocks State Park near Gila
Bend, Arizona, to characterize the resonant frequency and resonance time. Anticipated
future methodological approaches are discussed. Conservation of the natural acoustics
at rock art sites is urged.
El conexión del arte del sonido y de la roca se repasa. Las leyendas antiguas de las expli-
caciones supernatural para las generaciones de eco se resumen. Se examina la hipótesis
que la acústica inusual tal como reflexión sonido influenció la selección de los sitios del
arte de la roca y del tema. Se describen las técnicas que se han utilizado para estudiar el
lazo entre la acústica y el arte de la roca. Los resultados hasta la fecha se repasan,
incluyendo los nuevos resultados siguientes: 1) un estudio cuantitativo sistemático de la
Hieroglyphic Canyon, Arizona, mostrando los paneles principales del arte de la roca
ocurre en la localización que posee la intensidad más grande de la reflexión sonido, y 2)
la medida cuantitativa de una roca de sonido en el Painted Rocks State Park cerca de la
Gila Bend, Arizona, para caracterizar el tiempo de la frecuencia resonante y de la reso-
nancia. Se discuten los acercamientos metodológicos futuros anticipados. La conser-
vación de la acústica natural en los sitios del arte de la roca se impulsa.
Steven J. Waller
Ph.D in Biochemistry.
Research since 1987 on
acoustic testing of rock art
environments.
A
ccumulating evidence suggests that acoustics
may have been a motivating influence for the
production of a substantial proportion of the
rock art found around the world. Sound — in the
form of echoing, reverberation, resonance (Bjork
1997; Hedges 1993; Dauvois 1996; Dauvois and
Boutillon 1990; Ouzman 1997, 2001; Reznikoff 1995;
Reznikoff and Dauvois 1988; Steinbring 1992; Waller
1993a, 1993b, 2000a, in press) and ringing rocks (see
below) — appears to have been a determinate for the
selection of location and/or subject matter in a large
number of cases.
It is a fact known through numerous ethnograph-
ically documented legends that most ancient cultures
held the belief that certain natural phenomena were
caused by supernatural beings. This type of belief is
categorized as “animism”, a form of personification.
One complex natural phenomenon that was personi-
fied by ancient cultures is echoing, which has been
explained only in modern times by invisible sound
wave reflections. Legends documented from around
the world show that echoes were perceived as ema-
nating from spirits or were considered spiritually
important. Examples include the following:
1) Europe: The Greek nymph Echo was thought to be
responsible for repeated words (Bonnefoy 1992).
2) South Pacific: “Echo as the bodiless voice, is the earliest
of all existence” (Jobes 1961).
3) North America:
3A) A Paiute legend describes witches (tso-a-vwits) living
in the belly of mountain sheep and in snakeskins hid-
den among rocks, from which they take great delight
1999 IRAC Proceedings, Volume 2, P. & W. Whitehead and L. Loendorf, Editors, American Rock Art Research Association, 2002, pp. 11-20
12
in repeating in mockery the words of passersby. (Gill
and Sullivan 1992:79).
3B) The Acoma migration story describes Masewa (son of
the sun) leading the people out of the place of emer-
gence, heading for a place called Aako. As they travel
they come upon different places they suspect might be
Aako. To test each one, Masewa calls out in a loud
voice, ‘Aaaakoooooo!’. If the echo resounds, the peo-
ple stay to test the place further. If the echo is not
good, they simply pass it by. At a place just east of
Acoma, the echo is perfect, and Masewa announces
that this is Acoma.” (Gill and Sullivan 1992:4,5).
(Interestingly, Petroglyph National Park is located at
the eastern border of the Acoma aboriginal land claims,
and was found by the author to produce excellent
echoes.)
3C) A site called “Wikwip” in California contains rock art
for which there exists ethnographic information that
the paintings were made by men preparing for ceremo-
nial dances. The site name means Echo Rock, and is
derived from the sound-focusing acoustical characteris-
tics of the cave (Hedges 1993).
3D) The Navajo Night Chant (Yeibichai) includes offering
of prayers to the divinity Echoing Stone on the first
day of purification (Highwater 1984).
3E) The Twin Palongawhoya (Echo) features prominently
in Hopi creation myths (Williamson 1984).
3F) Diverse Native American traditions describe Talking
Rocks or hold that the “rocks will speak”. (Perhaps
this phrase should be taken literally, since at many
rock art sites one can experience words bouncing off
the rock surface where the art occurs, and it does
indeed give the impression that the rock is speaking.)
4) Central America: The Aztec earth and cave god called
Tepeyollotl was thought to cause echoes.(“Tepeyollotl”
Encyclopedia Mythica)
5) South America: In Chile, rock art is found in locations
associated with a mythological being known as
“sereno”, who lives where the water sounds; also in
Chile there is a rock art painting called Diablo at a site
that makes a noise that frightens the villagers when the
wind of a dust devil strikes the rock (Claudio Mercado,
personal communication 1998).
6) Asia: Echoes have religious significance to members of
an indigenous tribe of India called the Korku. This
tribe continues to produce rock art today, using echoes
as a selection criteria for choosing which caves to paint
(Somnath Chakraverty, personal communication 1996).
It should not be considered an affront to a cul-
ture’s intelligence that echoing was personified. It is
important to distinguish “intellectual capabilities” vs.
the use of different paradigms or world views. To
attribute phenomena of nature to supernatural spirits
was a quite common paradigm in ancient times, even
for intellectually-advanced cultures. The reflection
of sound waves is quite a complex phenomenon. For
instance, if a person makes a loud enough noise
while standing more than about 15 meters away
from a flat or concave rock wall, that person might
(if the surface is sufficiently smooth, dense and prop-
erly oriented) hear a delayed repeat of the sound
coming from the wall. Yet simultaneously, a second
person standing closer than 15 meters from that wall
would hear only the first person’s original sound,
and not the echoed repeat. The second person
would swear that no sound came from the wall
(because of insufficient time delay at that position to
distinguish the two closely-spaced sounds), while the
first person would swear that there was indeed
sound coming from the wall. When the two people
switch positions and try it again, they confirm the
paradoxical (hence “magical”) observation of sound
coming from the wall that can only be heard from a
distance. That this experience of a paradoxical phe-
nomenon could lead to thoughts and feelings of the
supernatural is evident in various synonyms used to
express the numinous: miraculous, mysterious,
arcane, impenetrable, inscrutable, mystical, unac-
countable, unguessed, unknowable, obscure, enig-
matic, baffling, perplexing, puzzling, occult, beyond
understanding (Merriam-Webster, 2001).
Given the propensity of ancient cultures for
attributing echoes to spirits, it follows that the actual
rock surfaces that produce echoes would have been
considered dwelling places for those spirits. It is rea-
sonable to theorize that locations with such echoing
surfaces would have therefore been considered
sacred. Typical sound-reflecting locations include
caves, canyons, cliff faces, outcroppings and large
boulders – precisely the characteristic locations
where rock art is found. One question that has
baffled rock art researchers is: why are some rock
surfaces selected in preference over other nearby
surfaces for the depiction of petroglyph and/or
Rock Art Acoustics in the Past, Present and Future
13
This progressed to determining if the echoing sounds
better at decorated locations than surrounding ter-
rain. This empirical technique is still useful for pre-
liminary scouting studies of large areas. For objec-
tive, quantitative measurements of acoustics, a
device for generating reproducible impulse sounds
was used in conjunction with portable electronic
audio recording equipment, and analysis of the
recordings was accomplished by use of sound level
meters and specialized computer programs. While
sounds were recorded on analog tape for most stud-
ies, some of the more recent studies have used digital
equipment (Waller, Lubman and Kaiser 1998). The
digital results served to confirm both the evidence
from analog recordings and the subjective impres-
sions of echoes. Acoustical testing of rock art sites
has thus progressed from subjectively listening for
the existence of echoes at sites, to performing objec-
tive measurements for determining if rock art occurs
specifically at locations that echo best relative to the
non-decorated surroundings. An analysis of acoustic
data systematically collected in a portion of
Horseshoe Canyon in Utah showed that the five art
sites within the study area correlate exactly with the
five locations within the canyon possessing the great-
est intensity of echoing (Waller 2000a). The present
paper reports consonant results from a similar study
conducted in Hieroglyphic Canyon, Arizona.
Also presented is a first attempt at characterizing
the sound qualities of a ringing rock associated with
rock art. Even today, such ringing rocks often evoke
surprise in modern people, since the mechanism of
the ringing is not well understood. Ringing rocks,
gong rocks, bell rocks, and lithophones, as well as
the related but distinct category of sounding stones,
have been found by a number of researchers in asso-
ciation with rock art (Bean 1975, Dams 1985, Dauvois
and Boutillon 1990, B. Fagg 1956, M.C. Fagg 1997,
Heizer 1953, Knight 1979, Nissen and Ritter 1986,
Parkman 1992, True and Baumhoff 1981; see also
Appendix below for an extensive listing of the
results from a search using the term “Bell Rock” in
“Rock Art Studies: A Bibliographic Database” com-
piled by L. Marymor 2001).
METHODS
The site of Hieroglyphic Canyon (in the
Superstition Mountains near Phoenix, Arizona) was
pictographs? The author has found that rock art
often occurs at the exact location of the source of
sound reflection and/or at a good spot in which to
stand for hearing an echo come from elsewhere. If
acoustics were indeed an influence for the produc-
tion of some subset of rock art as theorized, then
those locations decorated with rock art should be
expected to possess unusually good acoustical prop-
erties relative to non-decorated locations.
The possibility that the surfaces of these sites
were decorated with images evoked upon hearing
the echoes is suggested by the author’s experimental
observations. For example, echoes of percussion
noises such as clapping can mimic the sound of hoof
beats, and hoofed animals are a frequent rock art
theme. Voices appear to emanate from rock surfaces
on which anthropomorphic beings are depicted.
Thus the artists may have been attempting to depict
the spirits who they felt inhabited the rocks and who
were responsible for the sounds. Thus, motivation
for both the context (location) and the content (sub-
ject matter) of rock art can be directly derived from
the phenomenon of sound reflection via the ethno-
graphically-documented animism of echoing.
This acoustic theory does not necessarily conflict
with other theories (reviewed by Bahn 1997) attempt-
ing to explain the motivation for rock art, since
sound can be an integral part of activities such as
hunting magic, shamanistic rituals involving trance,
etc. (see also Lever 1998). While it would be impossi-
ble to prove exactly what the ancient artists were
thinking, the hypothesis that rock art occurs prefer-
entially at sound reflecting locations is experimental-
ly testable.
The author has tested over 100 sites in France,
Australia and the U.S. for sound reflection, and
found echoes and/or reverberations at almost every
one of them. A list of these sites, plus a large number
described by other researchers as having acoustical
properties, is being maintained on the Rock Art
Acoustics page of the world wide web at
http://www.geocities.com/CapeCanaveral/9461
(Waller 2001).
Since the author’s realization in 1987 of the possi-
ble significance of echoes experienced at a paleolithic
cave art site, the methodology used for documenting
the sounds at rock art sites has evolved. Initial stud-
ies involved simply calling out or clapping upon
approaching rock art sites and listening for echoes.
Steven J. Waller
14
iment at each location was conducted in replicate to
assess reproducibility of the impulse, intensity of the
reflected sound, and echo delay time. Ambient
sounds before, during and after each impulse were
recorded on Type II tape with a Realistic Stereo-Mate
SCP-29 Model 14-1068A portable cassette analog
recorder using an (uncalibrated) omnidirectional
Realistic stereo Electret microphone model 33-1065
placed one meter from the impulse generating
device.
These recordings were then digitized at a
sampling rate of 22 kH and quantitatively analyzed
for sound intensity as a function of time and fre-
quency using SoundEdit Pro® v1.0 on a Macintosh
Quadra Power PC®. The data was exported into
Microsoft Excel® v4.0 for mathematical analysis.
The average dB for each 6 millisecond interval was
calculated over 0.5 to 7.5 kH, then corrected for back-
ground ambient noise. The maximum dB level
occurring after the impulse (excluding the first 0.1
sec, which is approximately the threshold for distin-
guishing an impulse from the repeated sound), was
plotted on the Y-axis, vs. the test location as estimat-
ed in meters from the mouth of the canyon plotted
on the X-axis.
The recording of the ringing rock at Painted
Rocks State Park near Gila Bend, AZ was made and
analyzed with the same equipment described above.
This site was not pre-selected for testing, rather the
author fortuitously was present and recording when
the sound of the rock was produced by a person
(unknown to the author) who struck the ringing rock
with a smaller rock.
RESULTS
1) Hieroglyphic Canyon, near Phoenix, AZ
Figure 1 shows the intensity of sound reflection
tested at regular intervals through a portion of
Hieroglyphic Canyon. These results show that the
location of maximum sound reflection intensity at
450 to 500 meters from the mouth of the canyon cor-
responds exactly to the location of the densely deco-
rated main rock art panels (also at 450 to 500 meters
from the mouth of the canyon). The few isolated art
figures down canyon (less than 450 m from the
mouth of the canyon) are situated at locations with
measurable sound reflection, but at a relatively lower
dB intensity than the main concentration of figures.
The undecorated locations up canyon (further than
500 meters from the mouth of the canyon), even
though possessing rock surfaces perfectly suitable for
decorating, have the lowest dB level of sound reflec-
tion.
2) Ringing rock at Painted Rocks State Park, Gila
Bend, AZ
Rock Art Acoustics in the Past, Present and Future
Figure 1: Measurements of sound reflection at locations throughout
Hieroglyphic Canyon, AZ.
selected for detailed acoustical study
because it is in an unmodified condition,
has relatively low ambient noise (the
author had to wait until the departure of
a troupe of Boy Scouts who were whoop-
ing loudly to play with the echoes!), and
contains rock art that is not spread evenly
within the canyon so that undecorated as
well as decorated locations could be test-
ed for comparison of reflected sound lev-
els. The methodology used to quantita-
tively measure the relative intensity of
sound reflection systematically at multi-
ple locations within Hieroglyphic Canyon
is similar to that previously described for
Horseshoe Canyon (Waller 2000a).
Briefly, at each location a single loud per-
cussion noise was produced via a spring-
loaded device designed to reproducibly
deliver a percussive impulse. Each exper-
15
The magnitude of this proportion remains to be
determined by acoustic tests such as those described
herein.
Digital video recording with its CD quality
sound is expected to provide an important means for
documenting sounds together with the sights of rock
art locations (Schaleben 1999; Waller 2000b). Future
methodology improvements planned for acoustic
testing include use of a binaural dummy and Polar
Energy-Time Curve analysis that would enable local-
ization of the apparent source of the reflected sound
(auralisation of the “acoustic image”), as well as less
Figure 2A is a plot of sound intensity in decibels
(measured at a given time of 0.1 seconds after strik-
ing) on the Y-axis, vs. frequency in Hertz on the X-
axis; this shows that the main resonating frequency
of the ringing rock near Gila Bend is approximately
1695 Hz. The time decay curve of this resonance fre-
quency at 1695 Hz is shown in Figure 2B, in which
sound intensity in decibels on the Y-axis is plotted
vs. time in seconds on the X-axis; this yields a reso-
nance time of approximately 0.7 seconds. (By con-
trast, the duration of sound from an ordinary non-
ringing rock is much less than 0.1 sec, yielding a per-
cussive clicking sound rather than a ringing effect.)
Steven J. Waller
Figures 2a & 2b: Characterization of ringing rock at Painted Rocks near
Gila Bend, AZ.
DISCUSSION
The Hieroglyphic Canyon results cor-
roborate the earlier results from Horseshoe
Canyon, since both studies show that the
art occurs specifically at the locations that
correspond to the highest levels of sound
reflection. These data support the hypoth-
esis that rock art occurs preferentially at
echoing locations. There were no obvious
differential erosive factors that might have
preferentially destroyed any presumed art
in non-echoing locations (see discussions
of taphonomic considerations in Bednarik
1994 and Waller 1994). Thus these results
suggest that the artists in diverse cultures
and regions intentionally chose to decorate
surfaces having unusual acoustic proper-
ties.
The analysis of the ringing rock near
Gila Bend represents a step forward in
characterizing the acoustical properties of
a ringing rock associated with rock art.
Characteristics measured include the main
resonating frequency (1695 Hz) and an
estimation of resonance time (approxi-
mately 0.7 sec). Much work remains in
terms of standardization of technique.
The findings in many parts of the
world of an association of acoustics with
rock art, together with relevant ethno-
graphic information, suggest that a sub-
stantial proportion of rock art around the
world may have been motivated by sound.
16
labor-intensive characterization of the acoustic envi-
ronment. An exciting new invention that can visual-
ize sounds and has demonstrated the ability to local-
ize the exact source of sounds, including reflected
sounds, is the Acoustic Camera (Heintz 2001); plans
are underway to apply this new equipment to study
rock art locations. It is anticipated that such detailed
acoustical analyses will yield further insights into the
cultures that produced the art.
Documentation of acoustical properties of rock
art sites, including ringing rocks, is also important
for reasons related to conservation. This gives a
broader meaning to the task of “rock art recording”,
which would be incomplete if it were not to include
audio recording and detailed descriptions of sound
characteristics (see Berrier 2000 for a formalized doc-
umentation form for acoustical phenomena at rock
art sites). Unless more attention is brought to the rel-
evance of acoustics, inadvertent damage to the sound
characteristics of rock art sites will continue, such as
damage to sound-reflecting surfaces and construc-
tion of structures that interfere with sound waves
(Waller 2000c). Acoustical data can be used as a
baseline for determining at a given site the effects
over time of weather, erosion, noise pollution, site
intervention and vandalism on the acoustical proper-
ties that may have been a major motivation for the
art in those locations. A direct implication of this
body of rock art acoustic discoveries is that the envi-
ronment around rock art sites should be left in a nat-
ural condition so that the acoustical properties are
preserved.
Acknowledgements. The author thanks the participants
of the 99IRAC “Sound and Rock Art” session:
Margaret Berrier, Janet Lever-Wood, David Lubman,
Claudio Mercado (abstract read in absentia) and
Christian Buck, as well as the session attendees.
Thanks are also given to Leigh Marymore for search
results from his “Rock Art Studies: A Bibliographic
Database” that appear in the Appendix, and to Mary
Gorden for supplying several other helpful refer-
ences. I also give heart-felt appreciation to my fami-
ly Patrice, Jason and Julia for their understanding,
support and sacrifices throughout the long years of
these studies.
References Cited
Bahn, P.G.
1997 The First Artists (Special Report / Archaeology). In
Science Year, The World Book Annual Science Supplement.
Bean , L.J.
1975 Power and its Application in Native California.
Journal of California Anthropology2:25-33.
Bednarik, R.G.
1994 Epistemology and Palaeolithic rock art. Rock Art
Research11:118-120.
Berrier, M.
2000 Proposed Documentation and Storage of Data
Related to Acoustical Phenomena at Rock Art Sites.
1999 IRAC Proceedings1:718.
Bjork, C.
1997 Why Here? Bay Area Rock Art NewsVol. XV(2):1,7
Bonnefoy, Y.
1992 Greek and Egyptian Mythologies. Translated by W.
Doniger, University of Chicago Press, Chicago.
Dams, L.
1985 Paleolithic Lithophones: Descriptions and
Comparisons. Oxford Journal of Archaeology 4:31-46.
Dauvois, M.
1989 Sons et Musique paléolithiques. Les Dossiers de
l’Archéologie 142:2-11.
1996 Evidence of Sound-Making and the Acoustic
Character of the Decorated Caves of the Western
Paleolithic World. International Newsletter on Rock Art
13:23-25.
Dauvois, M. and X. Boutillon
1990 Etudes acoustiques au Réseau Clastres: salle des
peintures et lithophones naturels. Bulletin de la Société
Préhistorique Ariege-Pyrénées45:175-1
Fagg, B.
1956 The rock gong complex today and in prehistoric
times. Journal of the Historical Society of Nigeria1:27-42.
Fagg, M.C.
1997 Rock Music. Pitt Rivers Museum Occasional Paper on
Technology 14: 1-94.
Rock Art Acoustics in the Past, Present and Future
17
Nissen, K.M. and E.W. Ritter
1986 Cupped Rock Art in North Central California:
Hypothesis Regarding Age and Social/Ecological
Context. American Indian Rock Art 2:59-75.
Ouzman, S.
1997 Hidden in the common gaze: collective and idiosyn-
cratic rock paintings at Rose Cottage Cave, South
Africa. Navorsinge van die Nasionale Museum,
Bloemfontein13(6):225-256.
2001 Seeing is deceiving: rock-art and the non-visual.
Archaeology and Aesthetics World Archaeology. (in press).
Parkman, E.B.
1991 Toward a Proto-Hokan Ideology. Paper presented
at the 23rd Annual Chacmool Archaeology Conference.
1992 Creating Thunder: a California Rain-Making
Tradition. Paper presented to the California Indian
Conference.
Reznikoff, I
1995 On the sound dimension of prehistoric painted
caves and rocks, in Tarasti, E. (ed.), Musical
Signification: Essays on the Semiotic Theory and Analysis of
Music(Approaches to Semiotics 121:541-557), Mouton
de Gruyter, New York.
Reznikoff, I and M. Dauvois
1988 La dimension sonore des grottes ornées. Bulletin de
la Société Préhistorique Française 85: 238-246.
Schaleben, W.
1999 Uses of video – rock art research, education, and
preservation, (presentation given at the 1999
International Rock Art Congress in Ripon, WI).
Steinbring, J.
1992 Phenomenal Attributes: Site Selection Factors in
Rock Art. American Indian Rock Art17:102-113.
“Tepeyollotl” Encyclopedia Mythica.
http://www.pantheon.org/mythica/article ... llotl.html
[page accessed on 6/27/01]
True, D.L. and M.A. Baumhoff
1981 Pitted Rock Petroglyphs in southern California.
Journal of California and Great Basin Anthropology2:257-
268.
Gill, S. D., and I. F. Sullivan
1992 Dictionary of Native American Mythology. Oxford
University Press, Oxford. pp. 4,5,79.
Hedges, K.
1990 Petroglyphs in Menifee County. Rock Art Papers7:75-
83.
1993 Places to see and places to hear: rock art and features
of the sacred landscape. In Time and space: dating and
spatial considerations in rock art research, edited by J.
Steinbring, A. Watchman, P. Faulstich, and P. Taçon,
Occasional AURA PublicationNo. 8:121-127, Australian
Rock Art Research Association, Melbourne.
Heintz, G.
2001 http://www.Acoustic-Camera.com
Heizer, R.F.
1953 Sacred Rain Rocks of Northern California.
University of California Archaeological Survey Reports
22:33-58.
Highwater, J.
1984 Ritual of the Wind. Methuen Publications, Toronto.
p. 40.
Jobes G.
1961 Dictionary of Mythology, Folklore and Symbols.
Scarecrow Press, Inc., New York. P. 490.
Knight, L.
1979 Bell Rock and Indian Maze Rock of Orange County.
Pacific Coast Archaeological Society Quarterly15:25-32.
Lever, J.
1997 Sound Within Rock Art. In Utah Rock Art Papers
Presented @ the 16TH Annual SymposiumVol. XVI:9/1-5,
Utah Chapter ARARA, Salt Lake City, UT.
Marymor, L.
2001 Rock Art Studies: A Bibliographic Database,
Berkeley.
Merriam-Webster
2001 Collegiate® Thesaurus
http://www.m-w.com/cgi-bin/thesaurus
Steven J. Waller
18
Waller, S. J.
1993a Sound and Rock Art. Nature363:501.
1993b Sound Reflection as an Explanation for the Content
and Context of Rock Art. Rock Art Research10:91-101.
1994 Taphonomic Considerations of Rock Art Acoustics.
Rock Art Research 11:120-121.
In press. Acoustical Characteristics of North American
Rock Art Sites. American Indian Rock Art. Ms 1994.
In press. Acoustical Studies of Rock Art Sites on Three
Continents. In From Rock Art to Tribal Art: A Global
Perspective, Chakraverty, S. (ed.), India, Ms 1994.
2000a. Spatial correlation of acoustics and rock art exem-
plified in Horseshoe Canyon, American Indian Rock Art
24:85-94.
2000b Videotaping as documentation of acoustics at rock
art sites (presentation at ARARA 2000 in Phoenix, AZ).
2000c Conservation of rock art acoustics, (presentation at
Rock Art 2000, San Diego Museum of Man).
2001 Rock Art Acoustics web page
http://www.geocities.com/CapeCanaveral
Waller, S.J., D. Lubman and B. Kiser
1999 Digital Acoustic Recording Techniques Applied to
Rock Art Sites. American Indian Rock Art 25:179-190.
Williamson, R. A.
1984 Living Sky: The Cosmos of the American Indian.
Houghton Mifflin Company, Boston. P. 99.
Rock Art Acoustics in the Past, Present and Future
19
Hedges, Ken
1990 “Petroglyphs in Menifee Valley” in Rock Art
Papers San Diego Mueum Papers No. 26, Vol.
7:75-82, San Diego Museum of Man, San Diego,
California.
MENIFEE VALLEY, RIVERSIDE COUNTY, SOUTHERN CALIFOR-
NIA. CA-RIV-339. CA-RIV-340. CA-RIV-341.CUPULE BOULDER.
SAN LUIS REY STYLE. BELL ROCK. (Ringing rock, rock gong).
Hedges, Ken
1993 “Places to See and Places to Hear: Rock Art and
Features of the Sacred Landscape” in Time and
Space. Dating and Spatial Considerations in Rock
Art Research AURA Occasional Paper, (8):121-127,
Australian Rock Art Research Association,
Melbourne, Australia.
SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA. SOUTHWEST.SETTING: SACRED
PLACE. “The presence of rock art enables the identification of spe-
cial places”. RINGING ROCKS. (BELL ROCKS). THE ACTIVITY OF
ROCK ART PRODUCTION, RHYTHMIC MOTION, PRODUCTION
OF SOUND. (Rock gong).
Hillinger, Charles
1991 (May 15) “Ancient Granite Rock Chimes Like a
Bell” in San Francisco Chronicle, San Francisco
Chronicle, San Francisco, California.
MENIFEE VALLEY, RIVERSIDE COUNTY, CALIFORNIA.ROCK
FEATURE. BELL (RINGING) ROCK. (Rock gong).
Jackson, G., Gartland, J.S. and Posnansky, M.
1965 “Rock Gongs and Associated Rock Paintings on
Lolui Island, Lake Victoria, Uganda: A
Preliminary Note” in Man, The Journal of the
Royal Anthropological Institute, Vol. 65:38-40,
Royal Anthropological Institute, London,
England.
LOLUI ISLAND, LAKE VICTORIA, UGANDA. AFRICA.ROCK
FEATURE: ROCK GONG (BELL ROCK, RINGING ROCKS).
Jeffreys, M.D.W.
1959 “Rock Gongs or Sounding Stones?” in South
African Archaeological Bulletin, Vol. 14:111-112,
South African Archaeological Society, Cape York,
South Africa.
AFRICA.ROCK FEATURES: ROCK GONG. SOUNDING STONES.
(Ringing, bell rock).
Begole Robert S.
1984 (Oct) “Fertility Symbols in the Anza-Borrego
Desert” in Pacific Coast Archaeological Society.
The Desert, Vol. 20(4):13-28, Pacific Coast
Archaeological Society, Santa Ana, California.
ANZA-BORREGO DESERT STATE PARK, SAN DIEGO COUNTY,
SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA. “VULVA VALLEY”.MALE and
FEMALE SYMBOLS. FERTILITY. YONI. PHALLIC ROCK FORMA-
TIONS. SOUNDING STONES (WHICH DIFFER FROM) BELL
ROCKS. CUPULE BOULDERS. (Ringing rock, rock gong).
Cooke, C.K.
1964 “Rock Gongs and Grindstones: Plumtree Area,
Southern Rhodesia” in South African
Archaeological Bulletin, Vol. 19:70, South African
Archaeological Society, Cape York, South Africa.
PLUMTREE AREA, SOUTHERN RHODESIA (ZIMBABWE).
AFRICA.ROCK FEATURES: GONGS, GRINDSTONES. (Ringing, bell
rock).
Fagg, B.E.B.
1955 “The Cave Paintings and Rock Gongs on Birnin
Kudu” in Proceedings of 3rd Pan African
Congress of Archaeology, :306, , Livingston.
BIRNIN KUDU. AFRICA.ROCK FEATURE: ROCK GONG. (Ringing,
bell rock).
Fock, D.M.F.
1972 “Rock Gongs at Keurfontein” in South African
Journal of Science, Vol. 68:236, Johannesburg,
South Africa.
KEURFONTEIN, SOUTH AFRICA.ROCK FEATURE: ROCK GONG.
(Ringing, bell rock).
Fock, Mrs. Dora
1997 “Images and Sound” in Rock Art Research -
Moving into the Twenty-First Century, Shirley-
Ann Pager, ed., Vol. Part 1:76-79, South African
Rock Art Research Association, Okahandja,
Namibia.
AFRICA.ROCK FEATURE: ROCK GONG. A LIST OF SITES.
(Ringing, bell rock).
Goodwin, A.J.H.
1957 “Rock Gongs, Chutes, Paintings and Fertility”
in South African Archaeological Bulletin, Vol.
12(45):37-40, South African Archaeological
Society, Cape York, South Africa.
SOUTH AFRICA.ROCK FEATURE: ROCK GONG (BELL ROCK,
RINGING ROCK), CHUTES. FERTILITY.
Steven J. Waller
APPENDIX
“Bell Rock” search results from Rock Art Studies: A Bibliographic Database
compiled by Leigh Marymor, conducted 8Sep01
20
Kirby, P.R.
1972 “The Musical Character of Some South African
Rock Gongs” in South African Journal of Science,
Vol. 68:24, , Johannesburg, South Africa.
SOUTH AFRICA.ROCK FEATURE: ROCK GONG. (Ringing, bell
rock).
Lanning, E.C.
1958 “A Ringing Rock Associated with Rain Making,
Uganda” in South African Archaeological
Bulletin, Vol. 13(51):83-84, South African
Archaeological Society,
UGANDA. AFRICA.RAIN MAKING. ROCK FEATURE: RINGING
ROCK (BELL ROCK, ROCK GONG).
Lanning, E.C.
1959 “Rock Gongs and Rock Slides” in Man, The
Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute,
Vol. May:84-85, Royal Anthropological Institute,
London, England.
UGANDA (?). AFRICA.ROCK FEATURE: ROCK GONG (BELL
ROCK, RINGING ROCKS), ROCK SLIDES (CHUTES).
Malan, B.D.
1959 “A Rock Gong and Slide in the Parys District,
Orange Free State” in South African Journal of
Science, Vol. 55:29, , Johannesburg, South Africa.
PARYS DISTRICT, ORANGE FREE STATE, SOUTH AFRICA.ROCK
FEATURE: ROCK GONG. ROCK SLIDE. (Ringing, bell rock).
Morton-Williams P.
1957 “A Cave Painting, Rock Gongs and Rock Slide
in Yorubaland” in Man, The Journal of the Royal
Anthropological Institute, Vol. NOV:170-171,
Royal Anthropological Institute, London,
England.
YORUBALAND. AFRICA.ROCK FEATURE: ROCK GONG (BELL
ROCK, RINGING ROCKS), ROCK SLIDE (CHUTE).
Parkman, E. Breck
1990 (Oct) Toward a Proto-Hokan Ideology Paper
presented @ the 23rd Annual Chacmool
Archaeology Conference, :25 pgs, California
Department of Parks and Recreation, Santa Rosa,
California.
CALIFORNIA. SAN FRANCISCO BAY AREA. SONOMA, HUM-
BOLDT, TRINITY COUNTIES.CUPULES. HOKAN IDEOLOGY
HYPOTHESIZED. POMO BABY ROCKS. SHASTA RAINROCKS.
HUPA CALENDER STONES. AJUMAWI JUMPING ROCKS.
HOKAN CUPULE BOULDERS POSSIBLY REUSED BY LATER
PEOPLES. BELL ROCKS USED FOR PRODUCING RINGING
SOUNDS. FERTILITY RITUAL. (Ringing rock, rock gong).
Robinson, K.R.
1958 “Venerated Rock Gongs and the Presence of
Rock Slides in S. Rhodesia” in South African
Archaeological Bulletin, Vol. 13:75-77, South
African Archaeological Society, Cape York, South
Africa.
RHODESIA, SOUTHERN AFRICA.ROCK FEATURES: ROCK
GONG. ROCK SLIDE. (Ringing, bell rock).
Scherz, E.R.
1970 Felsbilder in Sudwestafrika , Vol. 1, ,
SOUTH AFRICA.ROCK FEATURE: ROCK GONG. PLATES 32,3 and
87,2. (Ringing, bell rock).
Steinbring, Jack, Granzberg, Gary and Lanteigne,
Maurice
1994 “Elemental Analysis in Persuit of Function in
Rock Art” in Rock Art Studies in the Americas.
Papers from the Darwin Rock Art Congress, Jack
Steinbring, ed. Oxbow Monograph, (45):55-65,
Oxbow Books, Oxford, England.
WORLD.PIT and GROOVE MOTIF(S). CUPULES ARE DEFINED
HERE AS A PRODUCTION OF RYTHMIC, STATIONARY
IMPACTS, AND GROOVES AS A PRODUCTION OF RYTHMIC,
DIRECTIONAL MOVEMENT. EXTENDED RYTHMIC BEHAVIOUR
MAY LEADTO TRANCE. CALENDRICS. ROCK FEATURE: “ROCK
GONGS” (BELL ROCKS, RINGING ROCKS).
Trumbo, Theron Marcos
1949 (Jun) “Ancient Artists Lived on Rattlesnake
Peak” in The Desert Magazine , Vol. 12(8):13-16,
Desert Publishing Company, El Centro,
California.
RATTLESNAKE PEAK, CAMBRAY, NEW MEXICO.
SOUTHWEST.PETROGLYPHS. RINGING (BELL) ROCK. MAP.
PHOTOS. (Ringing rock, rock gong).
Weidler, John B.
1988 (Jun) “Dem Dar Stones” in Bay Area Rock Art
News, Vol. VI(I):1-3, Bay Area Rock Art Research
Association, San Francisco, California.
ENGLAND. EUROPE.CELT. BEAKER. STONE CIRCLES. “PEN”.
SHAMAN. OGAM. STANDING STONES.CAIRNS. DRUM OR
GROANING (SOUNDING OR BELL) STONES. MEGALITH. PICT
SYMBOL STONES. ROCK FEATURE. (Ringing rock, rock gong).
Rock Art Acoustics in the Past, Present and Future




hoka hey


john
"Man is a marvellous curiosity. When he is at his very, very best he is sort of a low-grade nickel-plated angel; at his worst he is unspeakable, unimaginable; and first and last and all the time he is a sarcasm."

Mark Twain
User avatar
john
 
Posts: 1004
Joined: Wed Jul 19, 2006 7:43 pm

Postby rich » Sun Jun 15, 2008 9:47 pm

Ok - looks interesting - a bit long but I copied it to reread again a little later to help it sink in a bit better.
So they not only used the rocks for art and shamanism but could also use them for communications too. And they took advantage of echoes too. Wonder if they could have transported a big enough rock on a boat or if it was only land based? If they did it probably would have added some stability to it - or sunk it - depending on the size. But from what I read it appears they used it mostly in one location - and Masewa seems to have used the echo quality to pick the site they were looking for.
Kind of reminds me of the whispering galleys too.
i'm not lookin' for who or what made the earth - just who got me dizzy by makin it spin
rich
 
Posts: 486
Joined: Fri Mar 07, 2008 11:08 pm
Location: New York state

Postby john » Sun Jun 15, 2008 10:07 pm

rich wrote:Ok - looks interesting - a bit long but I copied it to reread again a little later to help it sink in a bit better.
So they not only used the rocks for art and shamanism but could also use them for communications too. And they took advantage of echoes too. Wonder if they could have transported a big enough rock on a boat or if it was only land based? If they did it probably would have added some stability to it - or sunk it - depending on the size. But from what I read it appears they used it mostly in one location - and Masewa seems to have used the echo quality to pick the site they were looking for.
Kind of reminds me of the whispering galleys too.



Rich -

On the salt, check out conch shells, worldwide.

The original Kahlenberg horn.

hoka hey


john
"Man is a marvellous curiosity. When he is at his very, very best he is sort of a low-grade nickel-plated angel; at his worst he is unspeakable, unimaginable; and first and last and all the time he is a sarcasm."

Mark Twain
User avatar
john
 
Posts: 1004
Joined: Wed Jul 19, 2006 7:43 pm

Postby Sam Salmon » Sun Jun 15, 2008 10:26 pm

john wrote:On the salt, check out conch shells, worldwide.
The original Kahlenberg horn.

Still used at some Fijian resorts as the call to dinner-someone with a decent set of lungs can really holler with one of those honkers. 8)
User avatar
Sam Salmon
 
Posts: 348
Joined: Sun Mar 12, 2006 9:30 am
Location: Vancouver-by-the-Sea

Next

Return to Anthropology and Primitive Societies

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 3 guests

cron