Re: Mayan Ruins & Unexplained Acoustics

Raymond Hanson Jr. (
22 Jan 1997 23:55:38 GMT

In this connection, I remember standing in the 'grandstand' surrounding
the ball court at Monte Alban in 1964 and conducting a conversation at
normal indoor levels of voice with people down on the ball court floor.
Of course, Monte Alban is a very quiet site (usually), but the acoustics
seemed extraordinary, and we all remarked this fact in our discussions

However, on another occasion, in 1957, I visited the Roman amphitheater
in Vicenza, Italy, which is more or less in the middle of the city. My
traveling companion and I took turns standing on the floor of the
amphitheater and rather far up in the seats and conversing in normal
indoor tones of voice with perfect comprehension on both sides. This in
spite of gazillions of Fiats and Vespas roaring around outside; inside
the amphitheater, the sound was damped out to virtual zero-level.

Incidentally, the amphitheater at Vicenza is still used for such
presentations as operas, and I have often thought how wonderful it would
be if the ball court at Montle Alban could be the site of, say, a Carlos
Chavez festival.