Sound archaeology recognises that the idea of ‘music’ as separate to sound or noise making, is a relatively recent one, and that rather than being a separate art form, music was in the past often an enmeshed part of a culturally connected and holistic set of activities. The activities of the Sound Archaeology Research Group encompass both music archaeology and archaeoacoustics, including projects relating to the reconstruction of ancient instruments and musical worlds, and the exploration of the acoustics of archaeological sites.

Music archaeology is a field that developed 40 years ago, as ethnomusicologists began to explore musical instruments found by archaeologists, researchers from both fields reconstructing ancient instruments and exploring how and what they may have played, what the musical worlds of the ancient past may have sounded like.

Archaeoacoustics emerged from this field as digital technologies allowed sound and audio to be explored, including the acoustics of archaeological sites, and the soundscapes in which musical activities may have been set. Portable digital recorders, and computer aided analysis offered new opportunities for field studies, and the capture and recreation of the acoustic ecologies of the past.

Sound Archaeology recognises that the idea of “music” as separate to sound or noise making, is a relatively recent one, and that rather than being a separate art form, music was in the past often an enmeshed part of a culturally connected and holistic set of activities. This research group explores a range of ideas connected to Sound Archaeology.

Primary schools can access new education resources based on sound archaeology research. Music Archaeology: From Stone Age to Roman Times is a Key Stage 2 education pack with links to National Curriculum Programmes of Study for Music, History, Science, English, Art, Drama & DT. The resource pack is based on the Soundgate app created as part of the European Music Archaeology Project. The Soundgate app allows users to interactively explore a number of archaeological sites: prehistoric caves in Spain; Stonehenge in England; and Paphos Roman Theatre in Cyprus, as they might have looked and sounded in the ancient past. The Music Archaeology education resource pack can be downloaded for free from: the soundgate webpage.

Staff:

Dr Stef Conner
Prof. Rupert Till
Dr Kristina Wolfe

In the press: