Despite all the research and groundwork scientists put in learning the secrets of Stonehenge, there’s still a lot of information they miss. Most of those baffled by Stonehenge have some kind of theory, but one of the recent ones sounds quite interesting. A scientist says that Stonehenge was inspired by sound effects.
Archaeoacoustic expert Steven Waller told the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), that in his opinion the arrangement of stones known as Stonehenge was inspired by sounds. In other words, Waller thinks that the stones were arranged to the purpose of creating a sound illusion.
Auditory illusions, as Steven Waller calls them, are basically an interference pattern. According to his explanation, when two pipers play at the same time, the sound waves cancel themselves in certain points while coming from each performer’s way. The illusion lays in the impression that there’s something there, invisible, that’s actually cancelling the sound waves.
Having a hard time wrapping your mind around that? Well, so did other fellow scientists. That’s why Waller tested his theory by bringing two flute players at Stonehenge to give a performance. He also had three blindfolded people circling Stonehenge while a pair of pipes was playing the same note. At the end of the experiment, the blindfolded persons were asked to draw what they imagined it was blocking the sound. Apparently the drawings were a lot like how Stonehenge was layout.
Then he told the AAAS at a meeting in Vancouver, Canada: “The impression I got when I walked into these quiet zones was the experience of being sheltered by the sound from some object that was blocking the sound”. He added that when people passed through those silent areas it would have been a “complete baffling experience”.
“Anything experienced like that in the past was considered to be magic. It was like a vision they received from another world”, said Steven Waller. He also described his own experience with the patches of sound. “It felt like I was being sheltered from the sound. As if something was protecting me. It gave me a feeling of peace and quiet”.
What’s particularly interesting about Steven Waller’s sound illusion theory is that it moves away from the conventional opinion that Stonehenge was inspired by the sun’s position at the equinoxes.