It seems rock music could be a great deal older than we ever thought. As a team of researchers from the Royal College of Art, have discovered that Stonehenge is more tuneful than anyone ever imagined. It seems that the stones used to construct Stonehenge hold musical properties, and when struck, they sound like drums, gongs and even bells. This special property could explain why the builders of Stonehenge were willing to go to such lengths to get the stones from Wales, nearly 200 miles away. According to a study published in the Journal of Time and Mind, experts tapped the bluestones with quartz hammerstones to see what sounds they made. They found the stones made different sounds and different notes. According to the researchers, it was even possible to make different sounds from the same stone, depending on where it was struck. Obviously, the experts did not want to damage the ancient stones, so they used a piece of material to protect the rock face. However, several of the stones already show evidence of having been struck in the past. Jon Wozencrofy, a senior lecturer at the RCA, commented that;
‘It is not controversial to say that prehistoric people would have known of the stone’s capabilities. We can see indentations on the rocks – otherwise, the area is amazingly untouched.’
He went on to suggest that these and other lithophones (sonic rocks), may have been used as a method of long distance communication in the past. If you’d like to find out more about the sound properties of Stonehenge or lithophones in general, keep an eye out for a book called Drums of Stone by Paul Devereux, which should be hitting the bookshops soon.