HOAX

 


There have been a lot of hoaxes that have seriously hindered the transmission of my knowledge. Chronologically, the first attempt to approach what was mistakenly called “archaeoacoustic” or “paleoacoustic”, corresponded to a letter, published in the Proceedings of the IEEE (August 1969, pp. 1465-6) and which I transcribe below…

 

 

“Acoustic Recordings from Antiquity

 

 

     
 

Abstract—Pioneering experiments establishing the principles of recalling ancient sounds from antiquity are reported.


Widespread research on recalling from the past actual sounds, voices, music, etc., adventitiously recorded by ancient peoples (or events) upon the "surface" or within the substance of a wide variety of objects and artifacts crafted (or evolved) from "plastic" media warrants intensified efforts at the present time, because of recent developments in electronic signal analysis which can ferret out "signals" buried in "noise".
This letter is primarily intended to call attention to the potentials of Acoustic Archaeology and to record the early experiments which established the principle.
Two areas of the author's investigation, which began in 1961, will be of interest: 1) the recording of sound on wheel-thrown clay pots, and 2) the recording of sound in paint strokes applied to canvas.
The sound-reproducing system used consisted of a crystal cartridge (Asiatic Corp., Model 2) such as is used in phono pickups.  The cartridge was connected directly to a set of inexpensive earphones (Trimm "Acme." 2000 ohms).  The chuck of cartridge could be fitted with "needles" of any suitable material, length, shape, etc.  In all instances the cartridge was held in the fingers and could be positioned against a revolving pot mounted on a phono turntable (adjustable speed) or "stroked" along a paint stroke, etc.
Sound Recorded on Pottery


First Example
This consisted of a pot of fine clay, hand thrown on a potter's wheel.  The wheel in this example was an old, student-made wheel, constructed of an automobile crankshaft and flywheel mounted in a (too) light wooden frame.  Persistently out of alignment, the wheel had a noisy vibration almost amounting to a chatter.  The pot produced on this wheel was fired at low temperatures.
When the pot was suitably mounted on the phono turntable and agaist the side of the revolving pot was held the phono cartridge (fitted, in this instance, with a "needle" consisting of a flat-ended sliver of wood three-quarters of an inch long) the low-frequency chatter could be heard in the earphones.


Second Example
This was similar to the first example except it was a commercial pot which had been hand thrown on a motor-driven potter's wheel.  The 60 Hz motor was mounted directly on the frame supporting the wheel to which it imparted a loud hum.  Using the phono cartridge as above with a similar needle, areas could be found on the surface of the revolving pot where the hum could be picked up.
In both examples, it should be noted, the last act of the potter, prior to removing the pot from the wheel, was to "smooth" the surface of the pot using the "sharp" edge of a thin rib of wood.
Sound Recorded in Paint Strokes
This is of particular interest as it introduces the possibility of actually recalling and hearing the voices and words of eminent personages as recorded in the paint of their portraits or of famous artists in their pictures.


First Example
A canvas affixed to a small, square wooden frame was so stationed as to be able to vibrate freely.  This it would do when "spoken to" or where subjected to music from a nearby phonograph—as determined by touching it to the "needle" (wooded sliver) of the crystal cartridge and listening in the earphones.
With an artist's brush, paint strokes were applied to the surface of the canvas using "oil" paints involving a variety of plasticities, thicknesses, layers, etc., while martial music was played on the nearby phonograph.  Visual examination at low magnification showed that certain strokes had the expected transverse striated appearance.  When such strokes, after drying, were gently stroked by the "needle" (small, wooden, spade-like) of the crystal cartridge, at as close to the original stroke speed as possible, short snatches of the original music could be identified.


Second Example
This is to record the finding of a spoken word in an oil portrait.  The word was "blue" and was located in a blue paint stroke—as if the artist was talking to himself or to the subject.  Parenthetically, the search was long and tedious.  The principle, however, was established.
Many situations leading to the possibility of adventitious acoustic recording in past times have been given consideration.  These, for example, might consist of scratches, markings, engravings, grooves, chasings, smears, etc., on or in "plastic" materials encompassing metal, wax, wood, bone, mud, paints, crystal, and many others.  Artifacts could include objects of personal adornment, sword blades, arrow shafts, pots, engraving plates, paintings, and various items of calligraphic interest.
It is believed that this is the first public disclosure in this interesting field.


Richard G. Woodbridge, III
Box 111
Princeton Junction, N. J. 08550”


Actually, the possibility that the sound recording occurred accidentally is remote, and perhaps this article and its author, of whom nothing else was known, was only proposing a working hypothesis, without incorporating any experiment or test ... the truth is that it has served so that it has subsequently been cited in many articles and websites ... and at the same time discredit a serious possibility of study.

 

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Thus, in Belgium, TV invented the following Hoax:


“Belgian researchers have been able to use computer scans of the grooves in 6,500-year-old pottery to extract sounds -- including talking and laughter -- made by the vibrations of the tools used to make the pottery."  Here comes the video (the interviews are in French)

 


 

 

 

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Furthermore, on the television show "Mythbusters" they experimented with recordings of the pot. They threw their own clay pots on a wheel and painted their own paintings while exposing both media to vocal and musical sounds when objects were created, using a modern record player stylus to try to capture and reproduce the sounds, but very unsophisticated and applied to a cylinder, and not a spiral recording ... Despite presenting the process correctly, the method used was very imprecise and did not achieve positive results.

 

You can see the video here:

 

https://www.dailymotion.com/video/x5vmtod

 

This set of hoaxes have made my attempts to publicize the studies I worked on at the Bahgdad museum have been relegated, and on the other hand, the fact that the missing pieces have never been known again makes me to think that whoever has these fragments of the sound past today does not want them to be made public


 
     


NOTICE:


1.- I'm not an engineer, I don't know how these clay discs were recorded. In my work at the museum we were able to reproduce the content on the best preserved disc with very basic means (parchment diaphragm, wooden arm, bronze needle), and its result is the audio file shown.

2.- I am not an anthropologist or a linguist either. When I showed it to specialized colleagues from these disciplines at the university, they pointed out that the few words that were distinguished corresponded to an archaic Aramaic language.

3.- Due to my condition of exile, at the present time I survive with few economic resources; the fact is that I have no means to continue my investigations, which added to the disappearance of the pieces (with the exception of some fragments that I still preserve), makes this website my only resource to make my knowledge public.