VRAASP stands for using Virtual Reality and Archaeoacoustic Analysis to Study and exhibit Presence, and this project was funded through the Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions (MCSA). This research will be undertaken at the University of Huddersfield.
“Unusual acoustic signatures of ancient or historical spaces, such as the West Kennet Long Barrow in England; caves in northern Spain containing prehistoric art; or Sculptor’s Cave in Scotland, have captured the public imagination for centuries. Attentive listeners often hear or feel a presence or resonance within such acoustic spaces, sometimes described as an otherness, a shimmer or glow, or an audio-visual aesthetic experience of the space. Other acoustic incongruities (such as infrasound) play a role in the experience of spaces and the acoustic experience of presence contributes to the phenomenology of historical and archaeological sites. The perception of presence is especially common in historically sacred locations (and shimmer is a characteristic descriptor of the spiritual realm), and thus acoustic analysis of the phenomenology of presence provides insight into the source of this experience. Acousticians, composers, and acoustic archaeologists have studied acoustic phenomena, and archaeologists have compiled 3D models of archaeological sites for cultural preservation and exhibition purposes.”
In this project I will use these technologies to engage in creative practice-led research on the phenomenology and acoustic archaeology of space. This research will contribute new knowledge on the phenomenology and psychoacoustics of archaeological spaces, and will also improve virtual archaeological spaces by imbuing them with their original sense of presence.
Throughout the fellowship, I will undertake field work at 5 archaeological sites:
- Avebury and West Kennet
- Palaeolithic Cave Art of Northern Spain World Heritage Site
- Sculptor’s Cave, Scotland
- Chamber tombs in Orkney
- Palaeolithic Caves in France
The research will be disseminated through research papers, conference presentations, virtual archaeological exhibitions, and performance.