ANCIENT TEMPLES USED ACOUSTIC TECHNOLOGIES
Located south of Sicily, the islands of Malta and Gozo are home to megalithic structures created by a highly developed people more than a thousand years ahead of Stonehenge and the pyramids. The monuments, including ancient temples, represent free-standing architecture in its purest and most original form. Design features, including corbeled ceilings, are mirrored in subterranean mortuary shrines that have been carved out of solid limestone. (In architecture, corbeling is a system of a row of stones oversailing the one below it, reducing the area of the ceiling with each row upward and distributing its weight.) Malta’s Hal Saflieni Hypogeum provides the most extraordinary example. A multileveled complex of caves and ritual chambers, it is a gem of archaeology that lay undisturbed until workers broke into it accidentally in 1902.
As anyone who sings in the shower knows, sound echoing back and amplifying itself from hard walls can do unusual things. That effect is magnified several times over in the stone chambers. “Standing in the Hypogeum is like being inside a giant bell,” says Linda Eneix, President of the Old Temples Study Foundation (OTSF). “You feel the sound in your bones as much as you hear it with your ears. It’s really thrilling!”
A consortium called The PEAR Proposition, Princeton Engineering Anomalies Research, are pioneers in the field of archaeo-acoustics, merging archaeology and sound science. Directed by Physicist Dr. Robert Jahn, the PEAR group set out in 1994 to test acoustic behavior in megalithic sites such as Newgrange and Wayland’s Smithy in the UK. They found that the ancient chambers all sustained a strong resonance at a sound frequency between 95 and 120 hertz: well within the range of a low male voice.
In subsequent OTSF testing, stone rooms in ancient temples in Malta were found to match the same pattern of resonance, registering at the frequency of 110 or 111 hz. This turns out to be a significant level for the human brain. Whether it was deliberate or not, the people who spent time in such an environment were exposing themselves to vibrations that impacted their minds.
Sound scientist, Prof. Daniel Talma of the University of Malta explains: “At certain frequencies you have standing waves that emphasize each and other waves that de-emphasize each other. The idea that it was used thousands of years ago to create a certain trance—that’s what fascinates me.”
Dr. Ian A. Cook of UCLA and colleagues published findings in 2008 of an experiment in which regional brain activity in a number of healthy volunteers was monitored by EEG through different resonance frequencies. Findings indicated that at 110 hz the patterns of activity over the prefrontal cortex abruptly shifted, resulting in a relative deactivation of the language center and a temporary switching from left- to right-sided dominance related to emotional processing. People regularly exposed to resonant sound in the frequency of 110 or 111 hz would have been “turning on” an area of the brain that bio-behavioral scientists believe relates to mood, empathy, and social behavior.
Research about Malta’s Temple Culture is documented on a DVD from the foundation at http://www.otsf.org/ Legacy.htm.