Sound archaeology: terminology, Palaeolithic cave art and the soundscape

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42 Citations (Scopus)


This article is focused on the ways that terminology describing the study of music and sound within archaeology has changed over time, and how this reflects developing methodologies, exploring the expectations and issues raised by the use of differing kinds of language to define and describe such work. It begins with a discussion of music archaeology, addressing the problems of using the term 'music' in an archaeological context. It continues with an examination of archaeoacoustics and acoustics, and an emphasis on sound rather than music. This leads on to a study of sound archaeology and soundscapes, pointing out that it is important to consider the complete acoustic ecology of an archaeological site, in order to identify its affordances, those possibilities offered by invariant acoustic properties. Using a case study from northern Spain, the paper suggests that all of these methodological approaches have merit, and that a project benefits from their integration.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)292-304
Number of pages13
JournalWorld Archaeology
Issue number3
Early online date6 May 2014
Publication statusPublished - 6 May 2014


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