Wednesday, April 21, 2004

Science Fun

Today's science lesson is about archaeoacoustics, the science-to-be of deriving ancient sounds that might have been impressed on historic objects.

Imagine some ancient potter, sitting there with his wheel and inscribing decorations on the side of a pot, vase or urn. The action of that scribing tool is a lot like the action of a needle in a phonograph groove. The thinking is that ambient noises, or even speech, might have vibrated that scribing tool and been impressed into the vase. Also, the same might have happened with long brush strokes against canvas.

Nothing's been found yet, except in some scattered tests that have yielded limited results of mostly background noise. But imagine one day hearing the voice of some Hellenic Greek man or Mesopotamian woman speaking to us across the centuries. Or of recovering the voice of Michaelangelo or Rembrandt....

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