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Still archaeoacoustic experiments by SBRG on Mount Amiata


TAG: electromagnetic waves, ultrasounds, archaeo-acoustics, Mount Amiata, SBRG, SB Research Group, Paolo Debertolis, Niccolò Bisconti

The study on "sacred" sites by our research group is taking place in the area of Monte Amiata and the analysis of physical phenomena that may be present close to it.

We visited numerous sites but for now, only two appear to have characteristics that influence the state of perception of the people that stop there for praying or meditating.

Indeed, we have repeatedly carried out measurements on the location of Monte Labbro, but nothing has emerged in the particular band of ultrasounds, infrasounds and even in the audible band. Although it is considered an important place for its shape vaguely as a triangular pyramid, it seems that the shape is unable to convey acoustic phenomena from the subsoil. We will conduct even better studies into the emissions of very low frequency radio waves orginiating from techtonic movements and the earths Schumann’s resonance frequency, but for now we can exclude all the phenomena of sound vibrations that may affect the state of consciousness.


Fig. 1 - Our ascent with full charge of instruments to the Giusdavidic settlement required a lot of patience


Fig. 2 - The group of researchers who carried out the SBRG experiment on Mount Labbro. From left to right: dr. Niccolò Bisconti, archaeologist, Antonio Pacini, technical, prof.agg. Paolo Debertolis, physical anthropologist


Certainly, the landscape appeared very impressive from the top of the Giusdavidic building in the cold winter weather. However, the collection of data on the settlement, whose construction is due to the "prophet of Amiata" Davide Lazzaretti was very disappointing.


Fig. 3 - This is the Monte Amiata as winter as seen from the Giusdavidic Tower


Fig. 4 - The view is breathtaking and from the top of Mount Labbro in a clear winter day even the sea is clearly visible


 Fig. 5 – In the Giusdavitic settlment we started to analyze the emission of radio waves from underground. There are some natural Schumann’s Resonance radio frequencies present (15.3 Hz 17.7 Hz 27.3 Hz) detected by our spectrum analyzer Spectran NF-3010 of German company Aaronia AG



Fig. 6 - Our main listening point was the chapel located beneath Giusdavidic Tower, perfectly sheltered from the wind and noise outside, where we placed two ultrasensitive microphones Sennheiser 3020


We collected insignificant data from chapels and medieval sites which appear very interesting for their mystical nature and religious importance. However, they have not revealed any physical/ mechanical secrets, such as the cave of  St. Philip in Bagni San Filippo or as Ermicciolo Chapel dedicated to St. Benedict and placed close to Vivo d'Orcia (Siena).


Fig. 7 - The shelter built in the tradition by St. Philip Benizi near Bagni San Filippo and the mysterious inscriptions in ancient characters


Fig. 8 - The microphones were placed in the cave-chapel, which is still well preserved. Above the altar there is a statue of black wood of  St. Philip Benizi


Fig. 9 - The Ermicciolo Chapel near Vivo d'Orcia (Siena). The microphones were placed on both sides of the entrance to the apse


 Fig. 10 - Even at Ermicciolo Chapel the landscape is very beautiful and mystical, even if there were no interesting archaeo-acoustics present. Here is the shot from the side of the apse of the chapel


Fig. 11 - The group of SBRG researchers who carried out the experiment at the church Ermicciolo. From left to right: sig.Giorgio Tondo, sound technician, dr. Niccolò Bisconti, archaeologist, Mr. Antonio Pacini, technical, prof.agg. Paolo Debertolis, physical anthropologist 


On the contrary some Christian sites, in that bygone era were also considered sacred by the Etruscans and Romans. Without wanting to go back to even earlier periods, they appear very important for archaeo-acoustics, such as the Abbey of San Salvatore and the church of St. Mary of Ermeta.

In regard to the Abbey of San Salvatore in Abbadia San Salvatore (Siena) we would like to confirm the data already collected in November 2012: there is a constant ultrasonic frequency from underground between 25 and 32 Khz. This is easily detectable in the water tank below the cloister of the abbey by use of hydrophones (water resistant microphones). The study of these mechanical vibrations will be the subject of a specific publication that we are preparing.


Fig. 12 - The Abbey of San Salvatore in Abbadia (Siena)


Fig. 13 - The well at the center of the cloister is the only access road to the water tank located under the abbey


Fig. 14 - The placement of Hydrophones into the water tank now have become a routine for us


Fig. 15 - But every time we repeat the experiment it is important to listen by ears what was recorded directly to identify sources of spurious noise that may affect recordings


Fig. 16 - The great American Mogami cables provide the security that the shielding is adequate and it is impossible for radio waves from mobile phones or commercial radios to penetrate our recordings


Fig 17 - In any case, thanks to our spectrum analyzer Aaronia, we also analyzed the presence of radio waves from other sources or from natural origin


It is surprising how you can listen by microphones in the air near the church of St. Mary of Ermeta. In August 2012, the presence of sounds and tones in the field of audible band from the ground attracted our attention.

It is likely that the deposits of mercury and cinnabar in the subsoil of the Mount Amiata play an important role and we also not must forget that the Amiata mountain is an extinct volcano, whose activity remains present even if quietly.

On the other hand Enel geothermal power plant that uses these geodynamic features is located several kilometers away on the other side of Mount Amiata and this fact totally excludes that the noises coming from its activities could be reflected to a place geographically far away.

It is likely, however, that these natural sounds, perceptible even to a sensitive ear to the ground and leaning accompanied by strong greenhouse gas, were also present at the time of the Etruscans who evidently they were very impressed by it, so to be considered in the past as the place "sacred." We also recall that the whole of mount Amiata was already considered a Sacred Mountain of the Etruscans.

It is therefore plausible that the observation of unusual phenomena by several witnesses at the site of Ermeta over the centuries, without detracting anything from the religion and the sanctity of the place, no doubt may have been immersed in this context.


Fig. 18 - The Church of St. Mary of Ermeta on Mount Amiata


Fig. 19 - The findings of archaeo-acoustics in St. Mary of Ermeta church. These photos are taken during the survey day, but most of our recordings were made during the night to minimize noise from human surface activities


In respect of our research, we used ultrasensitive condenser microphones with phantom power to 48 volts (these pass the electrical power along the same audio cables in which the signal passes) placed in the air (Sennheiser MKH 3020, frequency response 10-70.000Hz) and located close to the church. They detected extremely low frequencies below 40-50 Hz, with ups and downs but always present.

Recordings made in most cases during the night (to minimize the interference of human surface activities and lasting at least 5 consecutive minutes), were repeated several times. We always took care to take note when spurious noises appeared in the environment, such as the passage of airplanes at a distance.

We can also exclude the interference of radio waves coming from the microphone installations placed at the top of the mountain because the area is very sheltered in this regard and the equipment used has a significant shielding (Mogami Gold Edition XLR cables with gold plated connectors ) and the digital recorder used primarily has a high reliability (Tascam DR-680). It also has been used to confirm a digital recorder Tascam DR-100 of good quality even if with sampling characteristics lower than the previous recorder.

In conclusion, it seems interesting to use different study parameters, such as archeoacoustics for reanalyzing these sites. This reaffirms the aura of legends that pervades these places, and modern technology is now able to give greater clarity to the origin of many interesting phenomena.

The study will continue in the coming months and will focus our attention in particular in the last two sites to confirm and deepen as far discovered.

Paolo Debertolis, Niccolò Bisconti - January 14, 2013


Translated by Nina Earl

Sincere thanks for helping our research of archaeoacoustics to the monks of San Salvatore and in particular to the prior Father Amedeo and Father Roberto, who always patiently tolerated our invasions.

Another thank you from all of SBRG research group to Giorgio and Verena Pacini, owners of the restaurant and bed & breakfast "Fonte Magria" who provided food and lodging for researchers and large rooms for the instrumentation. The restaurant "Fone Magria" always will be our point of reference for our research in Tuscany.


Here is an original file collected near the Chapel of St. Mary of Ermeta. It is ONLY to listen and ONLY if you have a high fidelity stereo headphones with a wide range of low frequencies, otherwise you can not feel anything. The file is not altered, but only compressed in mp3 format because the original WAV file is over 200 Mega bytes. It lasts for around 5 minutes and you have to listen to in total silence.

To download the file (for personal use only and not for distribution) click here.




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