Sound Archaeology: Producing the Ancient Past

Activity: Talk or presentation typesOral presentation


Research Presentation as part of the Crosstown traffic Conference.

This presentation explores a recording project that produced 5 albums of music played on reconstructions of musical instruments found by archaeologists. It asks what one must consider when trying to reconstruct the soundworld of the past? This project focused on 5 projects, the music of ancient Scotland and Pibroch traditions; music of ancient Scandinavia from prehistory and early Christian cultures; the Carnyx and other giant Celtic war trumpets or northern Europe; Palaeolithic bone flutes, the oldest musical instruments found; and Greek and Roman musical instruments. A number of production approaches were taken, including live recordings in a concert hall, overdubbing in a studio, recording on location in country, use of ancient manuscripts and sources, improvisation and performance of new compositions. It also explored wider acoustic ecologies, including the use of captured impulse responses from archaeological sites and environmental sound. Drawing on periods when definitions of popular and art music are irregular, this project used methods from a range of traditions. Technologically the project covers a broad range from portable laptop equipment and digital microphones, to classical recording techniques and DAW pop remix approaches. Using a mixed methodology of phenomenology, ethnomusicology, and experimental sound archaeology, this project asks what can be learned by exploring the sounds of our ancient ancestors.
Period4 Sep 2018
Event titleCrosstown Traffic: Popular Music Theory and Practice
Event typeConference
LocationHuddersfield, United KingdomShow on map
Degree of RecognitionInternational