Mesoamerican temples

THE ACOUSTICS OF MAYAN TEMPLES
July 18, 2021 – 09:18 pm
Pyramids of Mesoamerica

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spelling and format editing has occurred within these posts; some email addresses may be out of date. - PART 1 - Subj: Mayan Ruins & Unexplained Acoustics part 1 Date: Wed, Nov 15, 1995 6:41 AM PDT forwarded from sci.archaeology. Subject: Mayan Ruin & Unexplained Acoustics 1 Date: 9 Nov 1995 13:38:48 GMT Message-ID: Musing About the Soundscape Mayan Ruins and Unexplained Acoustics: Note: This discussion started on alt.sci.physics.acoustics Newsgroup and was forwarded to acoustic-ecology discussison group. All notes are in sequence of posting. -Initial Topic- At least two structures at the Mayan ruins of Chichen Itza in Mexican display unusual and unexplained acoustical properties. The Great Ballcourt: The Great Ballcourt is 545 feet long and 225 feet wide overall. It has no vault, no dcontinuity between the walls and is totally open to the sky. Each end has a raised "temple" area. A whisper from end can be heard clearly at the other end 500 feet away and through the length and breath of the court. The sould waves are unaffected by wind direction or time of day/night. Archaeologists engaged in the reconstruction noted that the sound transmission became stronger and clearer as they proceeded. In 1931 Leopold Stokowski spent 4 days at the site to determine the acoustic principals that could be applied to an open-air concert theater he was designing. Stokowski failed to learn the secret. The Castillo: This structure is a temple that looks like a pyramid and is the one most commonly pictured on travel brochures for the Mexican Yucatan. Apparently if you stand facing the foot of the temple and shout the echo comes back as a piercing shriek. Also, a person standing on the top step can speak in a normal voice and be heard by those at ground level for some distance. This quality is also shar3ed by another Mayan pyramid at Tikal. I believe a good case can be made that the Maya somehow engineered these acoustical phenomena. After months of research, I cannot locate any scientific discussion or investigations regarding any of this. Any information or comments appreciated. -Response- I was at Chichen Itza two years ago. These acoustic phenomena are fascinating. The idea that they were intentionally engineered is not implausible, but it seems clear that it would have been different than our definition of 'engineering' in the modern world. It is really cool though and I would enjoy knowing more about it if people can add to the discussion. -Response- There are other "undocumented" acoustical properties of the ruins. When I was there several years ago the guide showed me a stack of what looked like stone artillery shells. He said that to this day no one has been able to determine what they were for. Then with a wink he picked up two sticks and proceded to play a tune on the "shells". Each one was precisely tuned. Perhaps the "ancients" knew more about acoustics than we give them credit for. -Response from reposting on acoustic-ecology discussion group - A similar phenomenon to that reported at the Mayan ballpark structure can be experienced in Vancouver. At Science World two parabolic dishes have been set up across a large open noisy room. One can speak softly into one and the sound can be easily heard at the other end. I'm sure the two are not identicle but the concept is the same and there is...

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Popular Q&A
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What was the ancient Mayans challenges?

drought or no rain for long time

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What was an ancient Mayan codex.

A codex is an old manuscript, in the form of a book, which replaced the scroll between the years 0-300 AD. They were written in Maya hieroglyphic script on Mesoamerican bark cloth.

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