Thursday, September 27, 2007

Try To Wrap Your Brain Around This Idea

Ever wonder what Alexander the Great's voice sounded like? Or what Cleopatra really said to Marc Antony while cruising the Nile? Did Charlemagne speak with a lisp?

Alas, the ancient folk didn't have recording technology back then, so all of that is lost forever.

Or is it?

Years ago, Art Bell's radio show featured a discussion of a nascent scientific theory called "acoustic archaeology." Basically, the theory proposes that, under the right conditions, audio can be captured from certain inanimate objects like pottery, wood or canvas. Some have theorized that sounds are stored like the rings in a tree, never disappearing.

Sound far-fetched? Well, as the cliché goes, space travel was once science fiction. Sound extraction may never happen as perfectly as we might dream, but with computer modelling, who knows? Maybe one day we'll hear that elusive audio of Jesus trying to pick up a chick.

For some further discussion on the topic check out this book on Stone Age acoustic archaeology. If you like reading quasi-academic papers, try this on for size.. For more of a layman's introduction, click here.


johnNokc said...

Hello Cur (as in Mudgeon) -
On those many times I have visited the Roman Forum, I have always felt strangely at home. It's like I was there before it was a ruin. Genetic memory? Perhaps. (Me and Shirley MacLaine!)

grizzard said...

Perhaps your were a peddler of hand-cranked gelato?

johnNokc said...

Could be, but if so I guarantee you it was hand-cranked by a slave of mine.