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Recreating the Sound of Stonehenge

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Stonehenge is the largest and most complex ancient stone circle known to mankind. In its original form, the concentric shape of stone rings would have surrounded an individual, both visually and aurally. It is an outdoor space and most archaeological evidence suggests it did not have a roof. However, its large, semi-enclosed structure, with many reflecting surfaces, would have reflected and diffracted sound within the space creating an unusual acoustic field for the Neolithic Man. The work presented here reports the reconstruction of the acoustic sound field of Stonehenge based on measurements taken at a full size replica in Maryhill, USA. Acoustic measurements were carried out using state-of-the-art techniques and the response collected in both mono and B-Format at various source-receiver positions within the space. A brief overview of Energy Time Curves and Reverberation Time together with a comparison to a recent measurement in the current Stonehenge site is provided. The auralisation process presented uses a hybrid Ambisonic and Wave Field Synthesis (WFS) system. In the electro-acoustic rendering system, sound sources are created as focussed sources using Wave Field Synthesis whilst their reverberant counterpart is rendered using Ambisonic principles. Using this novel approach, a realistic acoustic sound field, as it is believed to have existed in the original Stonehenge monument, can be experienced by listeners. The approach presented, not only provides a valuable insight into the acoustic response of an important archaeological site but also demonstrates the development of a useful tool in the archaeological interpretation of important buildings and heritage sites.
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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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