Exploring Avebury: Voices of Ancestor
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Avebury in Wiltshire is best known as the world’s largest stone circle, but surrounding it is a wealth of ancient monuments. Captivated by its unique atmosphere, many visitors form a personal, often spiritual, connection to Avebury and its ‘sacred landscape’. What was it that first attracted people to the Avebury area more than 5,000 years ago? Why was Avebury built where it is? Where did the sarsen stones come from? How does Silbury’s ditch fill with water each winter? What was the Avebury landscape like in prehistory? Sound engineer Steve Marshall explains the complicated but fascinating archaeoacoustics of the site, and invites us on a journey of discovery. For the first time the importance of water, light and sound is revealed, and we begin to see Avebury through the eyes of those who built it. Steve has found musical resonances, and an infrasonic resonance too low to be heard, but with the potential to produce altered mental states.
For 20 years, Steve Marshall was a busy and successful film composer and sound engineer. He worked for a time in the famous BBC Radiophonic Workshop, and co-curated an electronic music exhibition at the London Science Museum.
After taking a break from music he became fascinated by ancient monuments and landscape, eventually becoming a full-time independent writer, researcher and photographer. His best-selling book Exploring Avebury: The Essential Guide is the result of a decade spent living close to Avebury conducting his own research.
Eventually Steve combined his love of music and archaeology by delving into archaeoacoustics – particularly the acoustics of the West Kennet long barrow, near Avebury. Inside the stone monument Steve has found musical resonances, and an infrasonic resonance too low to be heard, but with the potential to produce altered mental states. This work resulted in his acclaimed album Avebury Soundscapes, where he combines music with 3-D recordings made in and around Avebury and its monuments.