9th Experimental Archaeology Conference poster – Cassidy and Fernstrom

Grange Stone Circle Acoustics: “If only those stones could speak!”

Tom Cassidy (Limerick City & County Council) & Mikael Fernstrom (University of Limerick)

Grange Stone Circle, in the western part of the archaeological landscape that surrounds Lough Gur, Co. Limerick, consists of a circle of upright stones which, for the most part, are fitted close to one another. A further feature, and unusual in itself, is the fact that the stones comprising the circle are enclosed by an earthen bank to their rear.

Two stones (identified as Nos. 1 and 113 in Sean P. Ó Riordáin’s report on his 1939 excavation) are considerably larger than most others. Located in the N.E. area of the 45m. diameter circle, they lie astride an alignment that stretches from the centre of the circle over the landscape to the hills that line the northern shore of the lake and a cleft over which the sun rises on the Summer Solstice. They lean into the circle’s enclosed area.

These stones are the focal point for a distinct phenomena that the first writer has been aware of for some two decades- sounds created at a particular location within the circle resonate backwards, by way of an echo, to deliver a distinct reflection and resonance to anyone standing within the south-west quadrant of the circle or atop the penannular earthwork that embanks the stones.

This paper, through the acoustical research work of the second writer, will explore whether or not this phenomenon is accidental or a deliberate creation of the Bronze Age inhabitants of Lough Gur in the context of recent studies. Is the Grange Embanked Stone Enclosure a genuine archaeo-acoustic relic speaking to us through the ages?

Cox, T., 2014. Sonic Wonderland: a scientific odyssey of sound, 114-177 Ó Riordáin, S.P., 1951. ‘Lough Gur Excavations: the great stone circle (B) in Grange townland’, Proceedings of the Royal Irish Academy 54C, 37-74

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