Highlands & Islands

Sounds of the Bronze Age to be studied

Sculptors Cave Image copyright Ken Ross/Geograph
Image caption Sculptors Cave in Moray

A researcher at the University of the Highlands and Islands (UHI) hopes to gain an understanding of sounds heard thousands of years ago.

Michelle Walker's investigation will involve a cave in Moray where human remains from the Late Bronze Age were previously found by archaeologists.

It is believed prehistoric people buried their dead in the cave in rituals involving beating a drum.

Ms Walker has proposed beating a drum in the same location.

The UHI graduate believes the acoustics of Sculptors Cave where the bodies were laid could have affected mourners' mood.

In her study, volunteers will be asked to complete a questionnaire with 10 questions designed to record their thoughts and feelings during the two minutes of drumming.

The research, known as archaeoacoustics, has previously given archaeologists a better understanding of how sound behaves inside Neolithic temples in England and Ireland.

Favourite snack

UHI has recently uncovered other clues to life in prehistoric Scotland.

Last month, archaeologists from the university along with colleagues from Manchester and Lancashire indentified a significant complex of Bronze Age buildings at Tresness in Sanday.

Archaeologists believe the houses were buried by sand dunes in the second millennium BC. They were exposed in December by the actions of stormy weather and the sea.

Image copyright Thinkstock
Image caption The latest UHI research could give clues to how sounds in a cave afffected Bronze Age mourners

And the remains of hazelnuts eaten by some of Skye's earliest inhabitants were found at a dig on the island last year.

Hazelnuts were a favourite snack of Mesolithic hunter-gatherers, according to archaeologists at UHI.

The shells found at an excavation above Staffin Bay could be 8,000 years old.

UHI carried out the dig along with Staffin Community Trust, school children and volunteers.

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