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Acoustic Pots in Ancient and Medieval Buildings: Literary Analysis of Ancient Texts and Comparison with Recent Observations in French Churches

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During the last decade, acoustic pots inserted into the walls and roofs of medieval and modern churches have been the focus of renewed scientific curiosity after a long time of relative silence. Traditionally, authors from the Middle Ages to the present time considered that Vitruvius established the relation between the “vasa aerea” (bronze vessels) in ancient Greek theatres and the “fictilibus doliis” (earthen vessels). Vitruvius's text and philosophy is analysed with regards to acoustics, and his recommendations are compared with medieval, modern and contemporary texts about acoustic pots. Most of them hints at an acoustical purpose for the pots. Therefore, the literature survey is supplemented with an acoustical survey of 25 French churches where pots still remain. Recent measurements and observations in some those churches, completed with recent data from foreign studies, are consistent with an acoustical purpose of the pots to decrease the reverberation time at frequencies strongly excited by the spoken voice.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: January 1, 2013

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  • Acta Acustica united with Acustica, published together with the European Acoustics Association (EAA), is an international, peer-reviewed journal on acoustics. It publishes original articles on all subjects in the field of acoustics, such as general linear acoustics, nonlinear acoustics, macrosonics, flow acoustics, atmospheric sound, underwater sound, ultrasonics, physical acoustics, structural acoustics, noise control, active control, environmental noise, building acoustics, room acoustics, acoustic materials, acoustic signal processing, computational and numerical acoustics, hearing, audiology and psychoacoustics, speech, musical acoustics, electroacoustics, auditory quality of systems. It reports on original scientific research in acoustics and on engineering applications. The journal considers scientific papers, technical and applied papers, book reviews, short communications, doctoral thesis abstracts, etc. In irregular intervals also special issues and review articles are published.
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