- Phoenix rising
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An international team of scientists is about to descend on Malta’s Hypogeum of Hal Saflieni, a UNESCO World Heritage Site which is believed to be the oldest prehistoric underground temple in the world.
The subterranean structure is shrouded in mystery, from the discovery of elongated skulls to stories of paranormal phenomena. But the characteristic that is attracting experts from around the globe is the unique acoustic properties found within the underground chambers of the Hypogeum.
Hal Saflieni Hypogeum is a cultural property of exceptional prehistoric value, dating back approximately 5,000 years and the only known example of a subterranean structure of the Bronze Age.
The 'labyrinth', as it is often called, consists of a series of elliptical chambers and alveoli of varying importance across three levels, to which access is gained by different corridors.
The principal rooms distinguish themselves by their domed vaulting and by the elaborate structure of false bays inspired by the doorways and windows of contemporary terrestrial constructions.
Although not known for certain, it is believed that the hypogeum was originally used as a sanctuary, possibly for an oracle. It is for this reason that a unique chamber carved out of solid limestone and demonstrating incredible acoustic properties has been called ‘the Oracle Chamber’.
According to William Arthur Griffiths, who wrote ‘Malta and its Recently Discovered Prehistoric Temples’, a word spoken in the Oracle room is “magnified a hundredfold and is audible throughout the entire structure. The effect upon the credulous can be imagined when the oracle spoke and the words came thundering forth through the dark and mysterious place with terrifying impressiveness." It is said that standing in the Hypogeum is like being inside a giant bell. At certain pitches, one feels the sound vibrating in bone and tissue as much as hearing it in the ear.
Sarasota arts and architecture critic Richard Storm explained the sensation: "Because you sense something coming from somewhere else you can't identify, you are transfixed." The acoustic properties within the Hypogeum have already been studied extensively.
It was found by Maltese composer Ruben Zahra and a research team from Italy that sound resonates at 110 Hz within the Oracle chamber, and this matches the same or similar frequency that has been found in many other ancient chambers around the world, including Newgrange in Ireland.
According to Dr Robert Jahn from Princeton University, it may be the dimensions of the room or the quality of the stone that determines the exact pitch of this echo behaviour. But the question remains – was it intentional? Was the Hypogeum actually designed to enhance amplification? If so, why? Is it possible that the designers of these spaces knew something that modern scientists are just rediscovering? One theory put forward by Paolo Debertolis and Niccolo Bisconti of the Universities of Triests and Siena respectively, is that the chamber was constructed in such a way as to created acoustics that would affect the psyche of people, perhaps to enhance mystical experiences during rituals, and this perspective has received scientific backing. Dr. Ian Cook of UCLA and colleagues published findings in 2008 of an experiment in which regional brain activity in a number of healthy volunteers was monitored by EEG through exposure to different resonance frequencies.
Their findings indicated that at 110 Hz the patterns of activity over the prefrontal cortex abruptly shifted, resulting in a relative deactivation of the language centre and a temporary shifting from left to right-sided dominance related to emotional processing. This shifting did not occur at other frequencies.
Whether it was deliberate or not, the people who spent time in the Hypogeum under conditions that may have included ritual chanting -- were exposing themselves to vibrations that may have impacted their thinking. In addition to stimulating their more creative sides, it appears that an atmosphere of resonant sound in the frequency of 110 would have been “switching on” an area of the brain that bio-behavioural scientists believe relates to mood, empathy and social behaviour.
Despite the plethora of research on the acoustic properties of the Oracle Room, there remain just as many questions as answers. It is for this reason that the Hypogeum will be the key location studied at the upcoming Archaeoacoustics Conference between 19th and 22nd February. A multi-disciplinary project has been outlined to undertake a challenging and unprecedented experiment.
Once underway, on site in the Hypogeum, they will collect biofeedback data including EEG from living subjects exposed to naturally produced sound in the frequency of 110 Hz, emanating from the Oracle Chamber. The on-site readings will be monitored, coordinated and studied using technical signal analysis tools to determine any physical effect of exposure in actual conditions that were possible in prehistory, and if the replication of such effect might have a modern therapeutic application.
The study has the potential to change what we know about the ancient people who built the Hypogeum and unravel some of the mysteries of this ancient and incredible site.
- See more at: http://www.ancient-origins.net/news-his ... z8.twitter
In 1902, workmen accidentally discovered a series of underground caverns beneath Valletta in Malta. There were reportedly many levels of interconnecting caverns and tunnels and what appeared to be burial chambers of some sorts. These tunnels and catacombs are thought to spread under the entire island, with legend even claiming that they reach the Vatican. It is even reported that a sacrificial pit was found that contained up to 30,000 human skeletons. But was it sacrifice?
A miss Lois Jessup, a British embassy worker at the time, along with friends explored the caverns and decided to go a little further than most by insisting on venturing through a "forbidden" tunnel (in the 1920's I think - don't shoot me here, I can't find verification just yet). The tunnel was only accessible by crawling, and once inside, Ms Jessup claimed to have encountered huge, non-human entities.
What is more disturbing is that after her supposed encounter, it was reported that a school expedition of about 30 pupils went missing along with their teacher and a guide.
http://www.bibliotecapleyades.net/arque ... alta02.htm
There is a little bit more to this story, and other urban legends associated with it.
Read more: 30-000-human-bones-and-missing-children-t79319.html#ixzz2r9Ny7RYF
Phoenix rising wrote: The effect upon the credulous can be imagined when the oracle spoke and the words came thundering forth through the dark and mysterious place with terrifying impressiveness."
I can imagine
Techblog => http://eclectriq.blogspot.com
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