Archaeoacoustic studies to be conducted on ancient temples of Malta

“Malta’s Ħal Saflieni Hypogeum, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is an international gem which holds secrets of a strange play of sound in the stone rooms and halls. Under strict conservation limitations that restrict entry to only ten persons per hour. Selected specialists assembled for the conference will be granted special access to test its acoustic behaviour with a vocalist in what is known popularly as “The Oracle Chamber”.” – Source:

Cliff Rover reports for CNN about a new acoustical and electromagnetic study of ancient Malta temples conducted by the Old Temples Study Foundation(OTSF).  According to this report:

Healthy volunteers will be measured and monitored for changes in brain activity, blood pressure, and skin temperature on exposure to natural sound stimulation and reverberant conditions. In addition to voice, data may be collected from the sounding of horn and shell instruments, a primitive drums as well as electrically generated tones

Visual impacts related to Cymatics or energy patterns, may also be observed: sand on a drumhead, water in a pottery and/or stone vessel. Correlations will be sought between these patterns and those found in the Stone Age art of the site. Does one reflect the other?

Architectural evaluation by an acoustic engineer and a concurrent digital acoustic and electromagnetic mapping of the site are also being conducted.

An exercise that is sensational: aural, visual and dramatic. The testing will be dramatic – whatever the outcome is. Observations will be made by experts in a wide range of fields in order to augment the known archaeology. Results may be compiled in a book for publication.

OTSF is holding a conference in Malta beginning on February 19th called Archeoacoustics.  According to the OTSF conference page, “The question goes beyond:  Did ancient people use sound? to wondering: How and Why?”

Following is more about the archaeoacoustic study from OTSF page:

Linda Eneix, the conference organizer, also believes there is good reason to look more closely. “Based on preliminary work done elsewhere, there is a hint of something important here,” she says, “and these are the people to take it the next step, including biofeedback data if that aspect is approved by the site management. If one theory tests out as we suspect it might, then our Stone Age ancestors have left us a gift that has incredible relevance in the modern world: one that, for all our techno-savvy smartness, we would probably never have thought of again.”


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