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Archaeoacoustical analysis of an ancient hypogeum in Italy

 Paolo Debertolis*, Niccolò Bisconti**


*Department of Medical Sciences - University of Trieste

   **Department of Archaeology and Art History - University of  Siena


Summary - The archaeoacoustic properties of an ancient hypogeum in Cividale del Friuli (North Italy) were studied. A series of experiments took place over a one year period to establish its acoustical resonant properties. A number of male and female singers were used and a resonance of 94Hz and 103Hz was discovered in two of the hypogeum’s six chambers. The best frequency response was obtained when male singers were positioned inside a ‘sound node’ that was discovered in both chambers. The term "node" refers to the point in the interior space of the chamber where the greatest acoustic resonance effect is achieved.

Later the effects of a frame drum were studied in one of the two chambers. Although it had an average frequency response of 55Hz, the drum was able to activate the chambers resonance of 103Hz from its harmonics. 

The research demonstrated the male voice was more successful in stimulating the resonance than a female voice, as the required resonant frequencies commonly fall within the male vocal range.

This study demonstrates that archaeoacoustics is an interesting emerging field capable of analysing ancient sites, utilizing different study parameters to those usually used in archaeology. Research in this field is re-discovering lost technology that operates on the human emotional sphere.


This scientific paper was presented at Conference "Archaeoacoustics. The Archaeology of Sound", Malta, February 19-22, 2014.

Site of the Conference in Malta.

This paper was included in the volume of Proceedings of the Conference, available in Internet (ISBN-13: 978-1497591264, ISBN-10: 1497591260), pg. 131-139.

This is the original paper from proceedings book.

This is the preliminary paper with coloured images.






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