Hypogeum of Hal Saflieni

The Hypogeum of Hal Saflieni in Malta is a UNESCO World Heritage Site which is believed to be the oldest prehistoric underground temple in the world.  The subterranean structure is shrouded in mystery, from the discovery of elongated skulls to stories of paranormal phenomena. On the walls of the Hypogeum many different patterns in red ochre were found.  Shapes like spirals, pentagons, floral patterns, and even the outline of a bull adorned the walls.

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One interesting fact about the Hypogeum is that when it was discovered, 7,000 skeletons were found piled within the chambers.  What’s more is that they had a unique characteristic – elongated skulls – and one of the skulls (out of only a handful that survived) lacked the Fossa median (the join that runs along the top of the skull).  It is known that some of the skulls were on display in the Archaeological Museum in Valletta. However, after 1985 all the skulls that had been found in the Hypogeum, along with other elongated skulls found across multiple ancient sites in Malta, disappeared without a trace, and have never been recovered. The characteristic that has been attracting experts from around the globe recently is the unique acoustic properties found within the underground chambers of the Hypogeum.

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Although not known for certain, it is believed that the hypogeum was originally used as a sanctuary, possibly for an oracle. It is for this reason that a unique chamber carved out of solid limestone and demonstrating incredible acoustic properties has been called ‘the Oracle Chamber’.  According to William Arthur Griffiths, who wrote ‘Malta and its Recently Discovered Prehistoric Temples’, a word spoken in the Oracle room is “magnified a hundredfold and is audible throughout the entire structure.”

The acoustic properties within the Hypogeum have already been studied extensively. It was found by Maltese composer Ruben Zahra and a research team from Italy that sound resonates at 110 Hz within the Oracle chamber, and this matches the same or similar frequency that has been found in many other ancient chambers around the world, including Newgrange in Ireland. The chamber was constructed in such a way as to created acoustics that would affect the psyche of people, perhaps to enhance mystical experiences during rituals, and this perspective has received scientific backing. The use of fractal non-linear resonances, which appear in the acoustics of the Hypogeum, is something that modern science has just started to investigate and the results show that these type of frequencies have the ability to alter matter.

The results revealed that a male human voice can stimulate the resonance of the structure at two frequencies (114 Hz and 68-70 Hz).  The use of a horn and conch shell did not create any resonance at all, while a friction drum produced low resonance. Interestingly, a shamanic natural skin hoop drum created a strong stimulation of resonance by harmonics of the drum at 114 Hz. The response was the same as that produced by a male voice singing ‘oooh’. A female voice did not produce the same effect.

 

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http://www.ancient-origins.net/news-history-archaeology-mysterious-phenomena/experts-unravel-sound-effects-malta-s-hypogeum-hal

http://www.ancient-origins.net/ancient-places-europe/hypogeum-hal-saflieni-and-unknown-race-elongated-skulls-001190

http://www.messagetoeagle.com/maltalongheaded.php#.U_t78cVdWR4

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