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Google cannot help - can you?

 
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Old 06-Jul-2011, 10:51 AM (10:51)     1        44068
layanglicana
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Default Google cannot help - can you?

Dear fellow heathens,

This is a cry for help!

To start backwards, I want to start a discussion in the cybersphere about the importance and source of atmosphere in old buildings.

I remember seeing a science programme on television - about 30 years ago, and I think the presenter must now be dead! - about old stones retaining traces of sound waves which had reached them through the years. Theoretically it might be possible to read these sound waves.

Has anyone else ever heard of this idea?

Very grateful for a push in any direction - not asking to be spoon-fed, but a proper scientific word for 'traces of sound in old walls archaeology' which Google failed me over would be very welcome!

Laura
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Old 06-Jul-2011, 11:52 AM (11:52)     2        44069
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There have been a couple of SF stories on reproducing sound waves recorded into pottery through minute, sound-caused wobbles in the potter's hand as the potter inscribes decorative lines in a pot on a turnwheel. However, the idea is implausible owing to any such fluctuations being lost in statistical noise and far larger minute tremors in the hand. I would think the program you heard probably picked up from that idea (the original SF story is very old now).

As for stones in stone buildings, the physical scale of the stone is simply too immense for sound waves to have any such effect, sorry. However, if you really want to simply run with the idea, I recommend you get in touch with Lionel Fanthorpe, who is a Church of Wales priest as well as an SF writer, and who probably would know any such program as you speak of (and may have made the program himself).

http://www.lionel-fanthorpe.com/
@lionelfanthorpe
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Old 06-Jul-2011, 07:35 PM (19:35)     3        44070
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....Implausible or not, it's a fun idea.
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Old 06-Jul-2011, 08:47 PM (20:47)     4        44071
layanglicana
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Wow, you are amazing!
Nothing like going out for the day and coming back to find a civilised suggestion, with a lead to follow up. And all in the middle of the NOTW debacle as well!
Something has triggered my memory - the presenter was James Burke http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/James_B...e_historian%29 and he is still alive (only 74!) So that gives me something to work with. Maybe I will try Lionel Fanthorpe first as James Burke obviously is not very free with his email/tel# etc.
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Old 06-Jul-2011, 10:16 PM (22:16)     5        44073
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Old 07-Jul-2011, 09:41 AM (09:41)     6        44078
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Some more info:

The very original SF story, about recreating sounds accidentally recorded by a potter as he inscribed pots on his turnwheel, was "Time Shards", by Gregory Benford. I have a vague memory of yet another SF story on the same topic, but I can't remember it. It was decades ago I read the Time Shards one and maybe the other one.

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Source:

The Raw Feed has linked to a video (in French) in which Belgian archaeologists discuss how they were able to "use computer scans of the grooves in 6,500-year-old pottery to extract sounds -- including talking and laughter -- made by the vibrations of the tools used to make the pottery." The video is fairly good quality and would lead you to believe that it might be real, if it weren't for the premise being pretty farfetched (and not reported anywhere else in the news). Make Magazine reports that the video was created last year as an April Fool's Day hoax, and point out that "This site - 'Poisson d'avril de journal televise', translates to: 'April fools newscast'.
Make sure to also read in full this page here: and bingo, by the way, they have details of the other SF story featuring the idea, "Buzz" by Rudy Rucker.

They also mention:

Quote:
The third was an episode of The X-Files titled "Hollywood A.D." (spoilerific summary here) in which Mulder and Scully think they may have stumbled across the "Lazarus Bowl", in which the voice of Jesus is recorded in the same way.
Also see this page in full too.
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Old 12-Jul-2011, 02:41 AM (02:41)     7        44115
homo hirsutus
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The history student part of me wishes it would work, but the part of me that says stuff that I don't want recorded is glad that it doesn't.
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Old 14-Jul-2011, 04:45 AM (04:45)     8        44123
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LOL.
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Old 22-Jul-2011, 09:45 PM (21:45)     9        44196
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Thats a very interesting idea to pursue, are there specific stone places you have in mind Layanglicana? Time Shards is now on my library list, have read many Benford stories, pretty good SF writer. I think trees are the most interesting record keepers over time, well besides written and really good oral tradition, but trees that are ancient but alive can be bored to reveal atmospheric details and information about weather patterns over the life of the tree. Wood that was used in buiilding tells many of the same stories from thousands of years back, and even petrified wood reveals the aspects of geology at the time of the forming of the mineral aspect in them. Trees speak, give a listen.
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