Researchers design an virtual acoustic tour of Stonehenge as it would have sounded thousands of years ago with all the stones in their original place. Matthew Stock reports.
Stonehenge, recreated in digital form. This new 'virtual tour' restores the standing stones to long before they fell to ruin and long before the noise of nearby roads obscured their suprising acoustic properties. Music technologist Dr Rupert Till used archaeological plans to re-build Stonehenge digitally, with all the stones at their zenith The resulting acoustics, he says, would've be largely unique in pre-history. (SOUNDBITE) (English) DR. RUPERT TILL, READER IN MUSIC, UNIVERSITY OF HUDDERSFIELD, SAYING: "It's a bit like a gigantic bathroom. People say 'well, you hear that anywhere'. But not two-thousand, three-thousand years ago; there weren't any large stone buildings. So this would have been one of the few human-made places where you'd have heard these kind of acoustic effects." Custodians English Heritage gave Till permission to experiment amongst the stones. For the app, he composed a soundtrack of so-called 'Neolithic music' using prehistoric instruments, such as a drum and cow horn. As well as soundscape of birds and the wind moving through the stones. (SOUNDBITE) (English) DR. RUPERT TILL, READER IN MUSIC, UNIVERSITY OF HUDDERSFIELD, SAYING: "Our app shows different phases of that development so you can see what it looked like 5,000 or 4,000 years ago, through a thousand years of development." The free app lets users wander amongst the stones and hear the sounds change. Archaeologists believe Stonehenge was a prehistoric temple aligned to the sun's movements. We can never be sure whether acoustics played a part in its design. But the teams says its acoustic features are as good as some concert halls, and are particularly suited to loud rhythmic music.