Virtual Reality Helps Scientists Recreate The Sounds Of Stonehenge

Stonehenge may have been a center of ritual musical activity. Filip Fuxa/Shutterstock

Ben Taub 06/01/2017, 16:48

A team of researchers has borrowed technology from the architectural and video games industries to bring the ruins of Stonehenge to life. The end product of the group’s endeavors is a virtual reality tour of the ancient site that recreates what it what have looked and sounded like several thousand years ago.

Though the purpose and origins of Stonehenge are still shrouded in mystery, researchers such as Rupert Till from the University of Huddersfield believe it probably served as a venue for ritual musical activity.

Mathematical reconstructions of the site and its acoustics have indicated that it may once have been capable of resonating at low frequencies when the wind blew or when percussive instruments were played within the circle of stones. Till and his colleagues suggest that the brainwaves of those present may have become synchronized with these frequencies – a phenomenon known as entrainment – in order to generate altered states of consciousness and even send people into a kind of trance.

Unfortunately, many of the stones have been eroded or removed over the past few millennia, so experiencing this first-hand is no longer possible. Yet the new virtual reality reconstruction of the site offers the next best thing, by digitally recreating the sights and sounds of Stonehenge as it was back in its heyday.

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