The acoustic rock art landscapes of Altai
Republic of Altai, Russia
The rock art landscapes of the Altai mountains were analysed through both the exploration of their acoustic properties and the ethnographic information gathered about the area. In August 2019 a fieldwork campaign was undertaken in order to carry out a series of systematic acoustic tests in four distinct areas: the Lower Chuya valley, the Urkosh area, the Karakol valley and the Katun River area south of Chemal. There are many sites in each of them, many of them with one or only a few motifs, contrasting with others with a high concentration of motifs. Among the latter the sites of Kalbak Tash I and Grand Yaloman can be mentioned. Both of them were were repeatedly visited generation after generation, period after period, from the Neolithic to the Middle Ages and even later. So far, the results obtained in the acoustics tests undertaken in the two first areas tested indicate that music and speech clarity characterized rock art sites. The ethnographic sources related to the Altai and other Siberian areas mention that, at least for the historical period and presumably earlier, in the prehistoric period, all existing beings are entangled by sound, and they mimic each other in endless ways. We propose that the major sites may have served as gathering spots where certain rituals and offerings involving sound, speech, or music-making may have taken place in different chronologies up to modern times.
ERC Advanced Grant. Project title: “The sound of special places: exploring rock art soundscapes and the sacred” (2018-2024). Acronym: Artsoundscapes. EC Grant agreement number: 787842. PI: Margarita Díaz-Andreu.
Coltofean, L. (2019) [Blog] Artsoundscapes in Siberia. An expedition about rock art, acoustics and human limits (Part I). Artsoundscapes blog 2 (8 November), https://www.ub.edu/artsoundscapes/artsoundscapes-in-siberia-part-one/.
Coltofean, L. (2019) [Blog] Artsoundscapes in Siberia. An expedition about rock art, acoustics and human limits (Part II). Artsoundscapes blog 3 (27 November), https://www.ub.edu/artsoundscapes/artsoundscapes-in-siberia-part-two/.
Díaz-Andreu, M., Jiménez Pasalodos, R., Rozwadowski, A., Alvarez Morales, L., Benítez-Aragón, D., Miklashevich, E. y Santos da Rosa, N. (2022a). Paisajes vivos y ontologías sonoras en Altai (Siberia, Rusia): el proyecto europeo Artsoundscapes (ERC ref. 787842) ante el reto del contexto intangible del arte rupestre. Actualidad de la investigación arqueológica en España IV (2021-2022). Conferencias impartidas en el Museo Arqueológico Nacional. Ministerio de Cultura y Deporte. 165-181. Madrid. http://www.man.es/man/dam/jcr:aeb8fd55-0c60-4362-be05-62ae8acca2b3/2022-aae-ciclo-iv.pdf
Díaz-Andreu, M., Jiménez Pasalodos, R., Rozwadowski, A., Alvarez Morales, L., Miklashevich, E. y Santos da Rosa, N. (2022). The soundscapes of the Lower Chuya River area, Russian Altai. Ethnographic sources, indigenous ontologies and the archaeoacoustics of rock art sites. Journal of Archaeological Method and Theory, (online) https://doi.org/10.1007/s10816-022-09562-w