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Observations and methodological reasoning in the sacred places of Trentino (North Italy).

TAG:archaeoacoustics, archeo-acoustics, archeology, vibrations, infrasound, anthropology, Trentino, Val Canali, Primiero Valley, Castel Pietra, myths, legends, SBRG, SB Research Group, Super Brain Research Group


Thanks to the new SBRG headquarters at Passo Gobbera in Trentino (North Italy) and the guesthouse on the ground floor of the same building (almost completed after a two-year renovation period), some members of our research group have started using this structure as a base to examine the sacred sites in this area.

Unfortunately, the conference room, located in the same building, which is also the local Astronomical Observatory, has not yet been completed and therefore the courses, meetings and conferences organized and scheduled here during the present year will necessarily be postponed to the next year.




Fig. 1 - The Astronomical Observatory of Passo Gobbera (TN) which is also the new SBRG headquarters.




Fig. 2 - The remote control telescope located in the Observatory dome.


The advantage of having a series of new rooms to stay, to place the equipment and to immediately examine the data collected during the research day on the computer, has allowed us to be well organized for research in this area.

One of our theories that we are testing utilising archaeoacoustics and imaging techniques, is that the myths and legends connected with some sacred sites are not purely due to superstition or ignorance. Often such stories have a basis of truth, but filtered through the imagination of those who transmitted them, partially modifying the initial message or embellishing them with mythical details.

It is our opinion, that some mystical or fearful experiences (feeling that something supernatural is about to happen), occur principally as the result of altered states of consciousness directly influenced by physical phenomena (magnetic fields and low frequency acoustic vibrations). Such physical phenomena appear to be concentrated at sacred sites revered for millennia.

Having the possibility to immediately verify our results thanks to our carefully chosen equipment, we have decided to develop a new study protocol in Trentino (North Italy), repeatable by other researchers, and also applicable at other sites during our missions in other European countries.

In particular, three members of our research group, prof. Paolo Debertolis, medical doctor, dr. Natalia Tarabella, architect, and dr. Randa Romero, psychologist, began a collection of archaeological and photographic data and environmental imaging, relating to local, oral and written historical sources, which can be used to establish if there is any correlation with the data from our instruments. This has given rise to a different interpretation of the myths examined in a more scientific perspective without rejecting any initial hypothesis, even if they appear to be mere fantasies or superstition.




Fig. 3 - The working group in Trentino during the analysis of the region.




The problem of dealing with historical sources, even when it comes to myths, is not a trivial matter. History is not a set of things already given regardless of who observes them. On the contrary, it is the subject who studies history that defines history. They look and investigate, because there is no investigation without the source and there is no source without investigation.

When we talk about history, in reality, we are talking about
historiography, that is, what reported by those who, through direct or indirect testimonies, objects or writings, try to summarize what happened in the past. But if this past has left no sign or testimony of its passage it is as if it had never existed.

The story transmitted through
myths and legends is investigation and narration and can not exist regardless of our attentive gaze. The story of the myth is not "is", but "made". So if the center of a historical research is not the object, but the subject, and history does not exist without the historian and the researcher, it is clear that the historical investigation is given by the tools and the competence related to the subject that makes the investigation.

In the case of archaeoacoustics, the instruments are represented by recording techniques of natural phenomena, both acoustic and electromagnetic, possibly still present in the place where a myth arose. It is known that geological changes, responsible for magnetic fields and local acoustic phenomena, do not have a short existence like human life, but can persist for very long times locally and can still be present thousands of years after they have been empirically detected by ancients.




Fig. 4 - The evaluation of the presence of any infrasounds using ultrasensitive microphones and high-level digital recorder is now a common practice in our research.




In the historical research methodology, the historian starting his story must use as a tool the look and the look must look at men and, in rare cases, directly attend the events recorded by our equipment, to be eyewitnesses.

Another device in our possession is the
historical memory of those who have collected these myths. But the most important tool is the word, which the historian and researcher uses to ask correct questions to witnesses.

The next methodological step is
listening, that is the testimony of those who have experienced unusual phenomena in the sacred site or of those who have collected the testimony of those who have lived that fact. Those who listen (us), are also those who read what reported by texts that previously may have answered the questions that at this point we could pose to witnesses.

The last tool we use in our research is the
logic. Scientific logic comes in handy when the eyes see one thing and the voice tells another. So our purpose is to examine the data using logic, but without discarding any data because it is inconsistent.

Therefore, there are
four fundamental elements that we use in the protocol of our research, the careful look of our instrumentation, the word with which we interrogate those who have had particular experiences in a particular sacred site, the listening / reading the data collected in this way and the logic to set aside incongruent data or highlight consistent data. By removing even one of these elements, we will have a search impaired or without authority.

The more research authors are able to make the best use of these tools (in this case we, but also any other researcher who follows our method), the more authors can demonstrate their
competence. The competence is the ability to interpret and enhance the collected data.

Competence is not something that is acquired overnight, but is acquired through the practice of the inquiry itself. It takes time and effort. Thus, after about eight years research and 33 publications in the field of archaeoacoustics in international literature until May 2018, we can state that we have achieved a certain expertise in archaeoacoustic research.

Competence is the ability to value the signs left by the past. You can witness an eyewitness to unusual physical phenomena at a givensite, but if you do not have the specific technical knowledge, you will not understand anything about what is happening. Hence solid scientific knowledge is derived from competence. Therefore
competence is the ability to give value to the sign of the past. And the sign can be anything: an object, but also an event or a document.

But what is a document? It's what happened over time. And when an event happens, it always leaves signs. The eye sees them and the author of the scientific investigation must focus his attention on these signs. And it is because of its competence that gives that sign a meaning and a value. The document is therefore a sign that is enhanced by a competent view, which is the gaze of the author of the scientific investigation. It is clear that without this look the document would not have weighed almost until it did not exist.

The document can be an ancient myth, a rock or even a symbol engraved on the stone (eg a carved cup). It is only because of the competent views that the historical document can be discovered. Very often, even unfortunately in the historical context, we try to pass off the document for something that exists regardless of our look. This is wrong from the hermeneutical point of view (exact sense of the signs of the past). The document does not exist except through the eyes that see it, examine it, question it, study it.




Fig. 5 - The immediate analysis of the data collected through the open source program "Audacity" in the version for Linux allows with some confidence to be able to identify interesting frequencies.




After this complex discussion on our research methodology, some practical examples lived personally: the myth of the "guane", sort of witches or fairies (depending on the point of view) present in Primiero Valley, but also in other Trentino valleys, even if under another name.

According to legend, these witches lived at the foot of Castel Pietra, a castle, now reduced to ruins built at the entrance of Val Canali to defend itself from the barbarian invasions. Initially it was only a military defense point (Castrum Petrae) against Attila, then turned into a real castle by the Episcopal domination of Feltre and then later entered into possession of the local feudal lord who is still its owner. He underwent several destructions and was finally abandoned in 1675.




Fig. 6 - The ruins of Castel Pietra, located at the foot of the Dolomites, dominate the entrance to the Val Canali.





Placed on a huge boulder dragged by the glaciers, it dominates Primiero Valley from the North-East, undoubtedly it was a place of power. But the myth speaks above all of these witches who lived in this place prior to the construction of the castle. So a place that has always been considered by the tradition to have supernatural characteristics.




Fig. 7 - A sort of altar at the base of the enormous rock on which Castel Pietra was built.




Fig. 8 - Some suggestive images of the wood at the base of the rock above which the castle was built and where the "Guane" were supposed to live.




Already the initial examination of the archaeoacoustic of the place has confirmed that there is a particular natural frequency of infrasound able to create a state of restlessness (18Hz) in those who remain long in the forest at the base of the castle. This proves that even in this case the myth that arises in this place has its scientific / anthropological base.





Fig. 9 - 18Hz to -50db (average) found at the base of the huge rock where the castle was built.



Fig. 10 - The iron staircase that makes it difficult to reach the ruins of the castle.




Anyone who had done a ritual in the past in this place would have created a strong emotion to those who had attended gaining prestige to the creator/shaman. At this point it is easy to think of some kind of female shaman, considered witch or fair by the local people, that in ancient times may have performed some rituals in this place generating in the bystanders a sense of fear or anguish, creating the myth of witches / fairies lived in this place.

In the coming months we will publish the results achieved.


SBRG - 6 September 2018

Edited by Nina Earl




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