Pamela Jordan

Grant Type

Dissertation Fieldwork Grant

Institutional Affiliation

Amsterdam, U. of

Grant number

Gr. 10316

Approve Date

April 13, 2022

Project Title

Jordan, Pamela (Amsterdam, U. of) "Site Sound: Using acoustics to analyze Mount Lykaion’s ancient sanctuary to Zeus"

Site Sound proposes the application of contemporary acoustics as an alternative to excavation-based data in order to measure, compare, and contextualize past conditions of archaeological sites. This approach has been developed at the sanctuary to Zeus on Mount Lykaion, Greece, where little is still known about the daily practices of antiquity despite a century of various excavations. A distinctive characteristic of Mount Lykaion are “sound lines”, or places of acute sonic connection between distant locations, intermixed with moments of sonic isolation in plain sight. The soundscape may demonstrate how ancient practices could have optimized the site’s acoustic characteristics to organize sacred and quotidian activities alike. Given the acoustic sophistication of similar contemporaneous constructions in the region and the ritual significance of sound in Zeus worship, how did ancient architects harness these advantageous landscape acoustics in the configuration of the sanctuary? To answer this question, Site Sound employs psychoacoustic analyses that compare test sounds across this ceremonial mountain complex, with the intention of profiling the sonic layer and possible features of the ancient soundscape. Drawing from sensory archaeology, architecture, soundscape, and ritual studies, Site Sound outlines the complete sonic architecture to more fully understand its original daily and symbolic use.