Researchers have used GIS technology to advance a theoretical discussion into a modeled sensory experience. It explores the way ancient people might have heard their surroundings throughout a complete archaeological landscape.
They used this three-dimensional tool to explore Chaco Canyon, New Mexico. This area which was ancestral Pueblo people’s major cultural center, had reached its high point at about A.D. 1040.
The required data for the site was readily available. Thus, the advantages offered and the curiosities presented made Canyon an attractive place to study.
They explored the possible associations between the built features of the environment and the performance space of Canyon. Though there were several culturally relevant sounds that could be explored, the researchers were interested in the sound of musical instruments, particularly the conch shell trumpet.
"Individuals at [four different points] would have heard a conch shell trumpet blown on the platform found at Pueblo Bonito. We interpret this to illustrate that events at the mound were not just meant to be experienced in front of Pueblo Bonito, but throughout Downtown Chaco" say the researchers
This research published in Journal of Archaeological Science adds a new component into landscape studies.