The place of acoustics in the process of rock art production

By Neemias Santos da Rosa, Postdoctoral Researcher

How does acoustics fit into the process of rock art production? Before answering this question, we need to clarify a fundamental matter: what is rock art made of? In her studies on rock art as a product of ideological and economic processes, archaeologist Danae Fiore considers that prehistoric visual representations comprise three essential parts: plastic composition, content and work process.

How we take acoustical measurements in the Artsoundscapes project, and how we got there

By Adriano Farina, Acoustic Technician

The field of acoustics was first formalized at the end of the nineteenth century by American physicist Wallace Clement Sabine (Harvard University) and his research on what characterises the sound of a room. As a result of his work, he introduced the concept of Reverberation Time (T60 or RT60) which is the time it takes for sound energy to decay a million times (-60 dB) from the interruption of sound itself in a confined environment. In practice, it quantifies the duration of the “sound tail” as we perceive it “by ear” (for example, when we clap our hands in a room).

Fieldwork in Catalonia… at a Time of Coronavirus

By Tommaso Mattioli, Senior Researcher

I always take notes on everything during rock art surveys and today, as I was reading my own observations, questions and thoughts recorded during the last fieldwork season in Catalonia, I felt a little uneasy. On the one hand, I was enjoying them as they reignited my adventurous spirit and reminded me of what it is I love about being outdoors exploring, but on the other, they were hard to read because I perceived them as a sort of official notification that something had changed radically.

Measuring emotions to understand ancient communities

By José Valenzuela, Doctoral Researcher

How can we understand the psychological response to sound in a prehistoric rock art landscape? The Artsoundscapes project seeks to analyse soundscapes to understand the role of sound and emotion in the engagement with the sacred in the rock art landscapes of premodern Holocene societies. This basically means trying to grasp how human minds worked several thousand years ago. The limitation is obvious: prehistoric people cannot come to a laboratory and participate in our experiments. This is a huge methodological challenge, but one that a multidisciplinary team is willing to face.

From London with Sound

By Mathieu Picas, Research Assistant

On the 22 and 23 of November 2019, a special two-day seminar on Music Archaeology in Latin America was held at the Senate House of the University of London. This event was the first meeting ever between the Latin American Music and the Latin American Archaeology seminars of the same university. My participation in the seminar was an enriching experience which allowed me to exchange exciting ideas with other researchers who have been working in these fields for years.

Thinking from Bogota, Colombia

By Ana María Alarcón Jiménez, Postdoctoral Researcher

Being an immigrant scholar who was born in Colombia, who studied both in the United States and Portugal, and who presently works in Spain, I often use Skype and WhatsApp to talk to my family and friends. Yet, regarding conferences, I am an advocate of non-virtual interpersonal contact. My past and very recent experience has shown me the great value of talking to people face to face. Therefore, I want to focus this blog post on a past conference, as a way to extend its timing and, perhaps, as a virtual attempt to dilute the Carbon Dioxide Emissions of my transatlantic travels by bringing its pastness into a wider present.

Artsoundscapes in Siberia. An expedition about rock art, acoustics and human limits (Part II)

By Laura Coltofean-Arizancu, Postdoctoral Researcher

As our days in Siberia were full and we generally worked every day from morning to evening, we did not have much time for leisure. Our free time was usually in the evenings, after dinner, when we took the opportunity to talk with our families and friends (if the internet connection was good enough to allow this), while sometimes enjoying a Russian ice cream. Thinking back, I realize that going to supermarkets was also a way of relaxing and having fun for us in the Altai, although I’m quite sure we didn’t acknowledge this while we were there.

Artsoundscapes in Siberia. An expedition about rock art, acoustics and human limits (Part I)

By Laura Coltofean-Arizancu, Postdoctoral Researcher

Overwhelming, breathtaking landscapes. A very long way from home. Those are the words that come to mind whenever I think about the Artsoundscapes Project expedition to Siberia. We’re now back in Barcelona and I’m writing this blog post three weeks after our return. I was supposed to write it earlier, but it was such a powerful experience that I felt I needed create some space in between to allow me to assimilate it all and to be able to put it into words. “Why Siberia?” is a question we were often asked before we left. The answer was simple…

10 months of Artsoundscapes – the who, the what and the when

By Margarita Díaz-Andreu, Principal Investigator

The ERC Artsoundscapes project started ten months ago, what it seems now like a long time. These past few months have been full of activities including building the team, setting up the project’s communication system – devising a logo, creating a Facebook page and a webpage –, participating in outreach activities, training, strategy development and planning the first fieldwork seasons. The first task for me, as the project principal investigator, was, of course, to form the team. This was not as easy as I was expecting.