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Sounds of Rock Art. Archaeoacoustics and post-palaeolithic Schematic art in the Western Mediterranean


The proposed research project will contribute to enhance and improve the study of the archaeoacoustics of post-paleolithic rock art, a line of research still in its infancy in Europe. In the human and social sciences, research on intangible heritage is on the rise, and archaeology has much to contribute. The project will focus on the relevance of acoustics as a factor for the production, location and active use of rock art sites and landscapes. It will do this by investigating resonance, reverberation, echoes and soundscapes of a sample of six areas with Schematic rock art shelters dating from Neolithic to Early Bronze Age in the Western Mediterranean located in Italy (Gargano and Abruzzo), France (Var and Vaucluse) and Spain (Montblanc and Cieza). Schematic rock art is the only rock art tradition that is common in the whole of the Western Mediterranean. This style is characterised by the stylization and abstraction of representations, that are turned into mere outlines without losing the minimal identifying features. The aim of the project is to provide a level of objectivity, precision and accuracy in acoustic measurements and to develop a comparative study of the sensorial experiences sought by prehistoric communities. The objectives are: 1/ to explore whether the selection of schematic rock art sites to be decorated was related to the sonority of the place, in particular on the basis of their potential for enhancing resonance and reverberation and for producing echoes; 2/ to assess in each location what type of sound produces better effects, whether sounds made by percussive, wind instruments or by vocal music; 3/ to verify whether reverberation and echoes are associated with the presence or absence of particular motifs; 4/ to infer commonalities in the cultural conventions regarding sensorial experiences; 5/ to contrast the information obtained about acoustics during the fieldwork with the data gathered on prehistoric musical instruments of the studied area.

Field of science

  • /humanities/history and archaeology/archaeology
  • /social sciences
  • /natural sciences/physical sciences/acoustics
  • /humanities/languages and literature/linguistics/phonetics

Call for proposal

See other projects for this call

Funding Scheme

MC-IEF - Intra-European Fellowships (IEF)


Gran Via De Les Corts Catalanes 585
08007 Barcelona
Activity type
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments
EU contribution
€ 173 370,60
Administrative Contact
Xavier Gutierrez (Mr.)