Ancient man's greatest monuments were giant echo chambers to create vast soundscapes to speak to the gods, according to new research.
KATIE SPICER, INTERNATIONAL BUSINESS TIMES
Steven J Waller, a scientific researcher on Archaeoacoustics, believes echoes created in caves and rocky areas could have led cavemen to believe spirits inhabited them.
"Ancient mythology explained echoes from the mouths of caves as replies from spirits, so our ancestors may have made cave paintings in response to these echoes and their belief that echo spirits inhabited rocky places such as caves or canyons," said Waller.
In the same way light reflection can make you see your own reflection in a mirror, sound echoes bouncing from cave walls or cliff faces, can create the illusion that someone is responding to you from within the rock.
Waller believes clapping noises can be misconstrued as hoofbeats within a cavern and if there are multiple echoes at the same time, they can merge together to create the illusion of a stampeding herd of animals.
"Many ancient cultures attributed thunder in the sky to 'hoofed thunder gods,' so it makes sense that the reverberation within the caves was interpreted as thunder and inspired paintings of those same hoofed thunder gods on cave walls," said Waller.
"This theory is supported by acoustic measurements, which show statistically significant correspondence between the rock art sites and locations with the strongest sound reflection."
Stonehenge is another area where auditory illusions could be created and may explain why the stones were positioned in such a way.Read more: