Sounds of Rock Art. Archaeoacoustics and post- palaeolithic schematic art in the Western Mediterranean
The SONART (2014-2016) project was aimed at enhancing and improving the study of the archaeoacoustics of post-paleolithic rock art in the Mediterranean Europe. The project will focused on the relevance of acoustics as a factor for the production, location and active use of rock art sites and landscapes in a sample of areas with Schematic rock art shelters dating from Neolithic to Early Bronze Age in the Western Mediterranean located in Italy (Gargano and Abruzzo), France (Var and Vaucluse) and Spain (Montblanc and San Servan). Schematic rock art is the only rock art tradition that is common in the whole of the Western Mediterranean. This style is characterised by the stylization and abstraction of representations, that are turned into mere outlines without losing the minimal identifying features. The aim of the project is to provide a level of objectivity, precision and accuracy in acoustic measurements and to develop a comparative study of the sensorial experiences sought by prehistoric communities. The main objectives were: 1/ to explore whether the selection of schematic rock art sites to be decorated was related to the sonority of the place, in particular on the basis of their potential for producing echoes; 2/ to assess in each location what type of sound produces better effects, whether sounds made by percussive, wind instruments or by vocal music; 3/ to infer commonalities in the cultural conventions regarding sensorial experiences.