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Study of archaeoacoustic characteristics in Argimusco megalithic site (Sicily, Italy)

Tag: archaeoacoustics, archaeo-acoustics, Argimusco, Etna, Val Demone, low frequencies, rock carvings, rock art,  infrasound, cupel, purification pool, SBRG, SBRG, SB Research Group

In late June 2015, coinciding with a series of conferences in Sicily (Messina, Pedara, Montalbano) organized by E-Media Spa and at the invitation of its President Gaetano Santoro, some members of SBRG (Debertolis, Gullà, Tarabella) have traveled to this beautiful island to conduct investigations of archaeoacustics in Val Demone, located in North-East Sicily.

Our research mainly focused on the Argimusco plateau (Messina) with its megaliths, the Etna volcano and surrounding areas. Our attention was attracted in particular to the Argimusco megaliths although they are of natural origin, they act as great transducers of underground vibrations as with other sacred sites we analyzed.




Fig. 1 - Some moments during the surveys at Argimusco plateau



The site has to be considered an ancient sacred place, corroborated by the presence of purification pools carved into the rock along with cupels used for sacrifices with well engraved drains. These artifacts are typical of ancient places of pagan worship.




Fig. 2 - Above: a purification pool carved into the rock of a Argimusco megalith. Below and in the middle: a cupel for sacrifices with the channel for the flow of blood engraved on an Argimusco megalith


These artifacts are not uncommon, they can also be found in other Neolithic sites throughout the world, such as Sogmatar in Turkish Kurdistan close the the Syrian border. A site recognized in scientific literature as a very ancient place of worship. In particular, although there is a considerable geographical distance between Argimusco plateau in Sicily and Sogmatar plateau in Turkey, the morphology of these artifacts are totally comparable.


Fig. 3 - The Sogmatar plateau,Turkish Kurdistan (click to enlarge)


 Fig. 4 - Above: a purifying pool carved into the rock of Sogmatar plateau in southeastern Turkey. Below: a cupel for sacrifices with the channel for the flow of blood engraved in the stone of Sogmatar


If for Sogmatar the dating of these artifacts is difficult, it is even more so to date Argimusco artifacts, where unlike Sogmatar there is no incision that can be attributed to a period.
The landscape of Argimusco looks decidedly impressive in its complexity, located a short distance to the Etna volcano as the crow flies.


Fig. 5 - Some views of  Argimusco plateau and its megaliths


We measured very interesting vibrations in this location which appeared to be transmitted from the volcano, almost certainly due to the movement of magma.
For comparison we looked at other locations in the area of Etna volcano from Catania to Messina province.
In some locations around the Argimusco plateau, a vibration of around 8 Hz is found, as also found on the slopes of Etna volcano to a volume of 36dB.



 Fig. 6 - There is a significant component of infrasounds in the centre of Argimusco plateau around 8 Hz up to a volume of 36dB (taken by ultrasensitive microphones in air)


Even in the village of Pedara (Catania), just a few kilometers from the volcano we found a large numer of vibrations (infrasounds) between a few Hz and 10-12Hz.



Fig. 7 - Vibrator reliefs held in Pedara (Catania) with the geophone


Measuring the vibrations in a secondary crater of Etna volcano we detected practically continuous vibrations, due to the activity of the volcano. These vibrations are detectable with the same wavelength, but much more powerful in volume compared to Pedara town.



 Fig. 8 – The remarks made by geophone or high-sensitivity microphones and digital recorder in a secondary crater of Etna


 Fig. 9 – Some pictures taken with infrared camera showing the different composition of the cold lava terrain

The recordings carried out by ultra-sensitive microphones showed a "rumble" of infrasound with a peak around 10-12Hz to 28dB. It is definitely of sufficiently high volume to interfere with human physiology.


Fig. 10 – The peak of infrasounds at 10-12Hz  present inside the secondary crater as recorded by ultra-sensitive microphones in the air



Fig. 11 – The graphics of the remarks from the geophone, a geological device able to grasp more accurately infrasounds coming from underground


Visually you can see by the eye of our special cameras these vibrations as a succession of light coming from the rocks. This is well evidenced by the video below.


Click here for the video


In the following audio file the recorded infrasounds are transposed by software into the audible range, they appear to match the same pulses as the video images (listen here - we have to remember that, given the wide range of bass frequencies in the sound file, you must use high-fidelity headphones for hear them). It should be remembered that infrasound vibrations are inaudible to the human ear, but they could be perceived by vibrator receptors in the skin in sensitive people. For being able to hear, we had to move (transpose) the sound file up the audible band. Obviously this process changes the frequency of sound file, but not the characteristics of pulsing vibrations.

This type of vibration seemed to have a calming effect on the psyche of volunteers who have lent to the psychophysiological measurements in the same crater. Despite the windy and cold day.


Fig. 12 - Results of psychophysiological measurements on a volunteer within a secondary crater of Etna volcano



The same look and feel of psychophysiological measures in volunteers we have been able to observe in a dormant crater for more than 200 years at the base of the volcano (Mount Sona), a sign that these low frequencies have a positive effect on psychomotor skills of the examined subjects.


Fig. 13 - Evaluation of the psycho-physiological conditions of a volunteer inside the extinct crater of Mount Sona

The empirical assumption is therefore that this type of vibration can lead to a kind of psycho-physical relaxation for anyone in these places.

As regards Argimusco plateau, in addition to vibrations already detected in other neighboring areas around Etna, an interesting natural emission of electromagnetic waves of tectonic origin in the VLF (Very Low Frequencies) field has been observed. They were found in two peaks on the central plateau, but not elsewhere of 25 and 43KHz.


Fig. 14 - Spectrum of the electromagnetic waves on Argimusco plateau



The vibrations found here, appear in the same spectrum also noted on Etna volcano, but much less intense as detectable by the following chart.


Fig. 15 - Vibrations aspect detected by the geophone in Argimusco plateau near the megaliths


This difference is particularly evident if we overlap the two graphs, taken in the secondary crater of Etna (above) and found on Argimusco plateau (below).


Fig. 16 - Appearance of the two graphs of vibrations collected by the geophone between the secondary crater of Etna volcano (graphic higher) and those recorded in the vicinity of the Argimusco megaliths (lower graph). The morphology is similar, but the sound volume is lower


We observed an interesting phenomenon on some natural megaliths on Argimusco plateau: they can be made to resonate by the human voice, creating a kind of reverb that is visible instrumentally.
To perform this experiment we had the collaboration of a professional singer, Flavia Vallega, who uses the natural musical scale with "A" set at 432Hz.
In the pictures below, detected by the variable resonance camera (TRV, used in a lot our researches for making visible the vibrations), you can discriminate various areas with high vibratory response that appear lighter in color.


Fig. 17 - Analysis of the effect of resonance obtained by variable resonance camera (TRV) on a megalith after Flavia Vallega sings. The different colors of the spectrum indicate different areas of vibrations moving at different frequency


We obtained very interesting results in the analysis carried out by vector computer programs. These can highlight the variations in brightness of the molecules of water steam in the air which align themselves as a dipole in a magnetic field. The results of analysis seem to suggest that this phenomenon develops a spiral magnetic field during the resonance of the megalith shown clearly in the below image. But we will need to investigate further before drawing any conclusions.


Fig. 18 - Spiral magnetic field that seems to be generated during the resonance of megalith found by TRV camera


There is also a vibration in the audible range in the proximity of the megalith called the "Baboon" that the silence and in the absence of wind can be heard quite easily into the cavity present in it.

it is a dominant frequency of 26Hz followed by various harmonics up to about 60Hz. This sound in the audible range (listen here - use again Hi-Fi headphones), given its characteristics it is conceivable to be a movement attributable to an underground stream that visitors to the site in ancient times may have perceived as the sound of God voice. We have decided to call it "the Voice of Argimusco".


Fig. 19 - Spectrum of sound frequencies detected near the megalith called the "Baboon", clearly audible a low frequencies (Argimusco’s Voice)


Other megaliths of Argimusco plateau have a considerable resonance phenomenon. Near the megalith called the "Praying" there is a huge megalith with many cavities on its surface which act as many small resonators.
In this case, as well as the human voice, percussion instruments were used that possess a more extended bandwidth sound with its harmonics starting from the lowest frequencies.




Fig. 20 - Some phases of the resonance experiment by the "shamanic" or "Irish" drum (single head drum) to megalith


Fig. 21 - Appearance of the frequency response of the megalith by staining after striking the shamanic drum. Lighter colors correspond to a vibration response with higher frequency


The different coloring presented in Figure 21 is a subdivision of frequencies for hues.
This phenomenon is clearly visible by measuring instruments, it is amazing and shows the megalithic rock lighting for vibrations at the same time of the drum rhythm. Everything is clearly visible in the next video in which you can grasp the vibrating rhythm of the megalith that resonates synchronously to drumbeats.



Click here for the video


It is conceivable that the percussion instrument possesses numerous successive harmonics in addition to the base frequency, able to stimulate the large number of different cavities.

Is it possible that these empirical phenomena were known to ancient people, if so they did utilise them in some way? We cannot be sure, but we think that the sacredness of this place from ancient times is due to observation of such phenomena by our ancestors.
In other sacred sites we examined in several European and Asian countries (Malta, Serbia, Italy, England, Turkey and Kurdistan, Portugal etc.) we always found some phenomenon that was not also present in other nearby areas. It was not by accident a particular location was choosen to build a temple or perform sacred rites in virtue of these phenomena, capable of influencing the psyche of those who stood in those places.



Fig. 22 - A few more striking images of Argimusco megaliths on which hangs the ominous shadow of the volcano


It is undisputed that these surveys carried out within a week will be investigated in a systematic way with more missions to these locations again.

Paolo Debertolis, Daniele Gullà, Natalia Tarabella – October 30, 2015



Thanks to the E-Media Spa and the President Gaetano Santoro, its vice-president Rossella Guglielmino for collaboration and their availability thoughout this research. A great sincere thank you goes to Mauro Di Salvo. A hug from all of us to Flavia Vallega for her very beautiful voice that has managed to resonanate the Argimusco megaliths. Our thanks also go to all those who have contributed to the results of the experiments and the success of the conferences in archaeoacoustics.



Most of the photographs were taken by the architect Natalia Tarabella, on the left in the photo together with our collaborators Santo and Irene. The measurements were performed by Paolo Debertolis and Daniele Gullà.


 Edited by Nina Earl

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