Small holes of wonder
Patricia Lopes Bastos

While exploring different paths to history, in search of the known but elusive proofs of music making, we have encountered specific types of ceremonial rocks that ‘speak’ of their potential and extensive use. Furthermore, the placement of these rocks seems to have answered a magical “call”, in well-chosen open auditoriums for 'who knows what'. The vast territory in Portugal where a large number of these can be found has an extended gallery of rock art and megalithic assemblages. In order to study the special “little holes rocks”, or “rochas com covinhas”, we envisaged a systematic methodology for measuring and analysing, not only regarding an objective identification but also, given their disperse locations, for an intentional comparison of results. Besides the use of the measuring-grid created for this purpose, two procedures were proven to be necessary for the full coverage of this survey: 1) Acoustical analysis of the sound produced in the flat surfaces and in the holes, and comparison between the signals from different depths and shapes; 2) Observation, in the area, of the amplitude and repercussion of the formulated sound, recurring to readings in strategic positions surrounding the rocks. By attesting the musical exploitation of these pre-historical objects, we are trying to contribute to the understanding of how important was sound and its abstract organisation in the development of the human race. During this meeting we will be pleased to demonstrate the methodology used in our research, bridging organology, acoustics and archaeology.