Sound Maps of the Caves

Explore sound, pictures and videos related to prehistoric cave paintings in El Castillo, Tito Bustillo, Las Chimeneas, La Garma and La Pasiega, part of the Altamira world heritage site.
Caves Map Jpeg

As part of our project we have created a set of interactive maps that allow you to listen to sound files, watch videos and see pictures from related to our project. each media file is placed in the appropriate position on the map. You view the files by clicking on the appropriate marker on the map, there is an option to hide these or show them in the bottom right hand corner of the page.

You can also see heat maps, in which colours indicate the values of a number of acoustic parameters, such as EDT (early decay time, a good indicator or perceived reverberance); T30 (reverberation time, including later reflections); EDT125 (which gives EDT results for lower frequencies, this tells you about low frequency resonances); T30 125 (low frequency reverberation time); C80 (clarity); D50 (definition or deutlichkeit); and STI (speech transmission index, how well you can understand speech). You select the acoustic parameter at the bottom. Again there is an on/off button for the heatmaps.

Please let us know if you find any bugs. If you do find a problem, changing map usually clears this, or reloading the page does the same. There are maps for 5 caves, Tito Bustillo, La Garma , las Chimeneas, La Pasiega and El Castillo.

You can see the maps by clicking here or by going to

Songs of the Caves: Acoustics and Prehistoric Art in Spanish Caves

This website is principally focused on a research project funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council in the UK. The project involves exploring how acoustics, music and sound relate to prehistoric art in Cantabrian Caves. The research included field tests in July 2013 in caves that are part of the Altamira World Heritage Site.

This project has been made possible due to the kind permission and support of the Regional Government of Cantabria. All images and video materials are shown here only with their permission and all rights are reserved. This project is enormously grateful to the Gobierno de Cantabria. Conserjería de Educación, Cultura y Deporte. Dirección General de Cultura.

Sciheritage_logoAHRC logo colour    Asturias_logogobierno de cantabria



Professor Rupert Till, director of the University of Huddersfield’s Sound Archaeology Research Group, features tonight on the first episode of the BBC2 TV series Civilisations. The programme explores the culture of prehistoric caves, and Professor Till discusses the soundscapes that accompany the paintings in caves that date up to 40000 years old.

The caves featured are the same ones that are featured in an interactive app that allows you to look around caves in northern Spain, as well as listen to what they sound like. You can download the EMAP Soundgate App for iOS smartphones and tablets, as well as for Android, PC and Mac.

With Professor Till is Nay player Mina Salama, who is here playing a reconstruction of a prehistoric flute like instrument, left in a French cave 20000 years ago.

Professor Till has also co-produced an album of recordings made with bone flutes, you can find the Edge of Time at

You can see more about the programme at

Research linked to the programme has been published as

Sound archaeology: terminology, Palaeolithic cave art and the soundscape


Cave acoustics in prehistory: Exploring the association of Palaeolithic visual motifs and acoustic response





It will explore approaches to the relationships between sound in antiquity and iconography.

It will be held in New York City, 24 May 2017, 10am – 6pm

Pictish stone cross Pict David harp musician artCONFERENCE VENUE:



Martin E. Segal Theatre

The City University of New York The Graduate Center
365 Fifth Avenue, New York

Conference organized and program edited by ZDRAVKO BLAŽEKOVIĆ and RUPERT TILL



Stef CONNER (The University of Huddersfield), Deciphering the World’s Oldest Musical Notation: A Performer’s Perspective

Heidi KÖPP-JUNK (Universität Trier), The Earliest Music in Ancient Egypt (Predynastic and Early Dynastic Period and the Beginning of the Old Kingdom)

FANG Xueyang (The University of Huddersfield), A Study on Research Methodologies Relating to Lithophones

Günay KOCHAN-FLOWER (İstanbul Teknik Üniversitesi), A Brief Look at the Role of Sound in State and Local Cult Festivals in Hittite Anatolia

Leah STUTTARD (The University of Huddersfield), The 15th-Century Harp: Approaches to Documents, Scores and Instrument

Daniel SÁNCHEZ-MUÑOZ (Universidad de Granada), The Sound of Mesopotamian Aerophones through the Sumerian Texts

Jorge BOEHRINGER (The University of Huddersfield), The Cup and Ring Marks on Rombalds Moor as Conceptual Point of Intersection

Rupert TILL (The University of Huddersfield), The Acoustic Ecology of Sculptor’s Cave: Musical Responses to Pictish Iconography in Scotland

5-6pm: There will then be a programme of music afterwards, featuring musical examples from the presentation.

Attendance is free. All welcome. 

RT recording in Sculptor's Cave.JPGThe study of music from the earliest past draws upon iconography and archaeology, and any attempt to understand the earliest acoustic ecologies requires some level of approximation based on material artefacts. Participants are invited to offer embodied, experiential, phenomenological, creative, practice-based and practice-led research that explores the sonic contexts of prehistory and antiquity. These explorations may consider the examination of sound-producing objects and musical instruments, acoustics of performance spaces, or role of sound in rituals, ceremonies and everyday events. Research is welcomed that uses digital technologies in (re)constructions of ancient soundscapes, and explorations of sonic textures drawing upon iconographic, archaeological and literary sources. Also considered may be performances or other artistic content, whether focused on musical, sonic, performance or visual arts. They should provide information about the source material which has created the basis of the work, but subsequently freely engage with performative explorations.



New Stonehenge App the EMAP Soundgate by Rupert Till

Soundgate Spash Screen Small

A NEWLY-launched app from a researcher and a team of technicians at the University of Huddersfield called the EMAP Soundgate, will turn smartphones, tablets and computers into time travel devices, enabling users to see and to hear ancient and mysterious sites such as Stonehenge as they were in the distant past, before they fell into ruin.

The University’s Reader in Music, Dr Rupert Till, has a global reputation for “sound archaeology”, including investigations into the acoustics of ancient spaces, and for recreating the music and instruments of early civilisations. Now his research into the sound properties of sites that include Stonehenge and prehistoric cave dwellings in Europe has led to a free app that can be downloaded for PC, Mac, Android and iOS operating systems.

The sonic dimension of the new app is the most significant innovation, said Dr Till.

“There are a number of computer game-like walkarounds for different historic sites, but what is new with our app is the ability not only to see what a site like Stonehenge used to look like, but also to be able to hear what it used to sound like, by integrating acoustic modelling. Also, the use of recordings of relevant ancient musical instruments is very new”.

In addition to Stonehenge, where Dr Till has conducted extensive research on the original acoustics, the first release of the app enables users to make visual and sonic virtual tours of two other World Heritage sites – Palaeolithic Age decorated caves near Altamira in Northern Spain, and the ancient Roman theatre at Paphos in Cyprus. New sites could be added to future releases, and there are also plans to adapt it for virtual reality headsets.

Full physical access to the sites included on the first version of Dr Till’s app can be restricted. It is rare to be allowed to enter the centre of Stonehenge, for example. Therefore the app, installed on a portable device, can enrich an actual visit.


“What you see today at Stonehenge is a remnant of what used to be there, so it will be very interesting for visitors to have this app showing what it used to look like at different periods, from the beginning of its development through to its completion about 4,000 years ago,” said Dr Till.

App users will also have the choice of visualising the site at in daylight, dusk or after dark, with appropriate natural sounds.

Ancient musical instruments will also form part of the app’s sound bank. Dr Till’s recent activities have included the production of recordings for the European Musical Archaeology Project. They have included an acclaimed disc of Viking age music and the sounds made by ancient bone flutes.

The app has been conceived, developed and produced in-house at the University of Huddersfield, with the expertise of its Computer Games department being crucial to the digital modelling, based on the acoustic data provided by Dr Till.

The app is the culmination of some six years’ research by Dr Till, who has been in receipt of major funding from EU sources and from the UK’s Arts and Humanities and Engineering and Physical Science Research Councils.

More information can be found on the project website at:

EMAP CDs can be found at

You can download the free app at:

PC & Mac:

Mac via App Store:

Android App:

iPhone and iPad (iOS) apps on iTunes:

Stonehenge Soundgate Night

12 Funded PhD Opportunities in Sound, Music or Multimedia Archaeology

The University of Huddersfield is part of a consortium currently advertising 12 funded PhD places for subjects related to Heritage Studies. This will pay tuition fees plus about £14,000 per year in living expenses (stipend). Applicants should have been living in the UK for the last 3 years, and should be UK or EU citizens. Eligibility is complex, and addressed on the application pages. Applicants should have an MA or have a good undergraduate degree along with relevant professional experience. These are competitive opportunities, and the awards will go to the best quality candidates and research applications, across a range of fields.

I am interested in particular in encouraging applications related to sound archaeology and multimedia archaeology. For example you may be interested in the following projects:

Sound/Music Archaeology PhD:

PhD project proposals are invited in the areas of sound archaeology, music archaeology, archaeoacoustics or related fields. This might involve an examination of the acoustics or acoustic ecology of an archaeological site or sites. It could involve study of musical instruments, composition for ancient musical instruments, the study of ancient music or any related subject. Another area of interest is the integration of audio into multimedia modelling of heritage sites. Research can integrate practice-based or practice-led elements as well as theoretical and contextual study. Students may wish to have co-supervision from a member of archaeological staff as well as an expert in sound archaeology. Students may have a background in acoustics, music technology, audio, composition or archaeology, although other fields are not excluded.

Multimedia Archaeology PhD:

PhD project proposals are invited to explore the use of multimedia tools to explore archaeological sites, particularly including exploration and modelling of sound as well as image. This could be a creative arts project, creating multimedia artworks, installations, or interactive environments that explore archaeological or heritage contexts. Models of world heritage sites, including Stonehenge, Palaeolithic decorated caves, and Cyprus’ Paphos theatre, as well as of other significant archaeological sites, are available as a starting point for the project. This may explore development of these models into edutainment/serious games. It may involve exploring the use of such modelling in heritage contexts. It could explore the modelling of specific spaces, or the use of online or interactive environments, including apps. Unreal or Unity game engines can be used. A focus could be specifically on audio elements of such research. Students with backgrounds in game design, programming, multimedia art, archaeology, music technology or related subjects are welcome. Support for multimedia, sound or archaeological elements is available, and a range of supervision support in different departments is available.

There may well be opportunities to be involved in the European Music Archaeology Project, a 5 year EU funded research project ( The University of Huddersfield is a co-organizing partner in this project.

The advert is here:

There is a frequently asked questions (FAQ) page here:

Details of how to apply are here:

I am happy to help with developing applications, please contact me at Please mention my name in your application, and let me know if you are applying.

Fully Funded PhDs available in music archaeology and archaeoacoustics at the University of Huddersfield

We are advertising 6 fully funded PhDs in our University (fees + living expenses). Stipend should be at least the RCUK rate (£14,057 – uk pounds – per year) or more, and tuition fees will be paid.

There are a number of possible areas of supervision, but I would be particularly interested to supervise students interested in archaeoacoustics and music archaeology.

All subjects may involve creative work or practice based research. Final submissions could range from a portfolio of original creations to a written thesis, or a combination of the two. There would be the opportunity to be involved in European Music Archaeology Project ( activities.

Current activities in this area in our department include recordings of ancient instruments (bone flutes, carnyx, aulos etc.); digital modelling of archaeological environments; and acoustic modelling, analysis and testing of archaeological sites.

Please feel free to email me if you want to discuss details of applications. Please mention my name in your application. Please circulate this and post it to any sites or individuals you think may be interested.

The application deadline is 10 September 2015.

email Rupert Till at for more information


Apply at:

Visual Interactive and Sound Technology in Archaeology


Visual Interactive and Sound Technology in Archaeology

One Day Symposium

Sir George Buckley Lecture Theatre, CSLG01, University of Huddersfield, Huddersfield, West Yorkshire, UK, HD1 3DH.

Tuesday 16th June 2015, 10am – 5pm

This symposium collects together researchers working in digital modelling and reconstruction, app development, acoustic modelling, interactive design, audio-visual applications, and multimedia, and their relationships to archaeology, heritage science, cultural industries and museums.

European Music Archaeology Project and British Audio-Visual Research Network

Free tickets at

Cover image VISTA 2


The increasing impact of digital survey across Historic England & English Heritage

Paul Bryan, Geospatial Imaging Manager, Historic England; Joe Savage, Interpretation Officer, English Heritage 

This presentation will highlight the increasing impact of digital survey technologies and methodologies across the work of Historic England and English Heritage. Alongside a summary of the technologies employed their variety of application will be highlighted through a number of case studies including the use of laser scan data at Stonehenge, Harmondsworth Barn and West Kennet Long Barrow and current work at Tintagel Castle using drone-acquired imagery and Structure-from-Motion (SfM) photogrammetry. As will be shown such digital survey work has multiple archaeological, conservation and presentational applications including interpretation and analysis, interactive app development and within exhibition displays.

Professional Commercial Archaeological Digital Visualization

Marcus Abbott, York Archaeological Trust

Marcus Abbott presents an insider’s view of the world of professional commercial archaeological modelling. He discusses and illustrates recent work by York Archaeological Trust.

Acoustic and Interactive Modelling in the European Music Archaeology Project

Rupert Till, Casto Vocal, University of Huddersfield

This presentation discusses the Soundgate, a 180 degree projection screen using 4 widescreen HD projectors to create an immersive visitor experience for the EMAP travelling exhibition. Footage will be filmed live at archaeological sites with digital cameras, as well further live film using anamorphic and fisheye lenses and a 4k Red camera to generate a form of digital cinerama. Digital modelling will also be used to generate cinematic reconstructions in the same format. Acoustic modelling, sound archaeology, archaeoacoustics and music archaeology will be used to create a soundtrack focused on reconstructions of ancient musical instruments being played in their original historic acoustic contexts. Digital film with soundtrack, interactive online, PC, tablet and smartphone versions will all be created.

Visualisation and Auralization: exploring digital lived experience in late medieval buildings.

Catriona Cooper
, Archaeological Computing Research Group, University of Southampton

Digital techniques in archaeological computing can offer new routes to approaching human experience. Catriona Cooper presents two case studies that demonstrate alternative and complementary techniques to explore the notion and implementation of a digital “lived experience” of late medieval buildings. A study based at Bodiam Castle uses digital visualisation to explore the lived experience of the private apartments. A second case study presents an assessment of a series of auralizations of Ightham Mote comparing recorded and modelled acoustical parameters with reference to both human responses and numerical parameters, concluding in combining the two approaches.

Intersensorality, Indeterminacy, Experimental Sound Design and Archaeological interpretation

Claire Marshall, Plateau Imprints

A focus on the VR reconstruction of the Ribchester Roman Fort in Lancashire. This will be amongst the first full 4D and multi-sensorial interpretations of a site in the UK, which foregrounds the intersensoriality and indeterminacy of ‘material culture,’ in general, and public heritage interpretation and experience, in particular.

Use of Oculus Rift for VR-Auralisation

Alex Southern, Royal Society Industry Research Fellow, University of York 

This is part of an ongoing project that makes use of Oculus Rift virtual reality technology to deliver immersive, interactive, 3D audio-visual experiences of a theatrical performance venue. Software has been developed to integrate the Oculus Rift (for 3D visualisation) and MAX/MSP (for 3D headphone auralisation) to view recorded performances, and users are able to interactively select their preferred seating location. The user is also able to freely move their head and look around the venue adding to the sense of immersion and resulting in a multi-modal experience.

Lost and Found Sound in the Vale of Pickering: Exploring the sonic properties of a Early Holocene landscape through sound art

Ben Elliott, Department of Archaeology, Jon Hughes, Department of Music, University of York 

The Sonic Horizons of the Mesolithic sought to apply new developments in contemporary landscape-based sound art composition to the palaeoenvironmental and archaeological data available for the landscape around Star Carr. Resulting in a series of ambisonic sound installation events across Yorkshire during the summer of 2013, this project explicitly explored the sonic environment within a context that defies traditional archaeocoustic approaches through its lack of archaeologically definable internal spaces. A landscape approach here was key, and this paper will reflect on the implications that this may hold for future considerations of sound in the deep past.

VIsta logos

EMAP logo


Songs of the Caves

This short film was created as a part of the Songs of the Caves research project. This AHRC/EPSRC funded project aimed to explore the sounds of 5 caves that are part of the Cave of Altamira and Palaeolithic Cave Art of Northern Spain World Heritage Site. In the caves of La Garma, El Castillo, Las Chimineas, El Pasiega and Tito Bustillo the team explored the acoustics of the caves and their relationships with the cave art present. The art in the caves is up to 40,000 years old, and the team tested whether there was any evidence that sound played a part in where these visual motifs were placed. In addition various instruments were played and recorded in the caves, to demonstrate the acoustics and see what the caves might sound like with different sound sources. Many of the instruments were reconstructions of archaeological finds, including bone flutes which were made up to 30 or 40,000 years ago.

Overall the film aims to try to show what it might have felt like to be in the caves in prehistory.

Baboons using sound for echolocation in caves

BBC Television has recently shown the use of sound as a simple form of echolocation in caves by primates. Chacma baboons in the southern Cape of Africa are known to sleep in caves, and call to one another in order to navigate their way around in the pitch dark (Monkey Planet, Episode 1, “Meet the Family”, BBC Television, first shown 2 April 2014).

Humans are not Baboons, but if primates use these techniques then it is an indication of the usefulness of sound in caves for navigation.

Iegor Reznikoff singing at Arcy-sur-Cure cave in Burgundy on BBC Radio 4

BBC Radio 4 are presenting a new series called ‘Noise: a Human History’. It is presented by Professor David Hendy. Although he is not a researcher with a background in Music Archaeology or Archaeoaocustics, he does however present a very interesting series of programmes, including recordings of Iegor Reznikoff singing in a cave in France.

The programme is to be broadcast on BBC Radio 4 on Monday 18th March 2013 at 13:45.

Clips from the programme can be seen online by clicking on the images below.

DURATION: 02:01 Musicologist Iégor Reznikoff makes the caves of Arcy-sur-Cure in Burgundy "whisper, hum, talk and sing".

Musicologist Iégor Reznikoff makes the caves of Arcy-sur-Cure in Burgundy “whisper, hum, talk and sing”.

DURATION: 01:05 Is this how caves sounded to our prehistoric ancestors?  The undoubted star of Episode 1 is Iégor Reznikoff, who sang for us in the cave of Arcy-sur-Cure. Professor Reznikoff is an expert in ancient music and early Christian chant.  His technique is to use 'just intonation'. It sounds unusual and exotic. But modern musical styles don't become attuned to these archaic places. Use 'primitive' sounds, however, and the singer's body and the cave vibrate together as this extended clip of Professor Reznikoff demonstrates.

Is this how caves sounded to our prehistoric ancestors?
The undoubted star of Episode 1 is Iégor Reznikoff, who sang for us in the cave of Arcy-sur-Cure. Professor Reznikoff is an expert in ancient music and early Christian chant.
His technique is to use ‘just intonation’. It sounds unusual and exotic. But modern musical styles don’t become attuned to these archaic places. Use ‘primitive’ sounds, however, and the singer’s body and the cave vibrate together as this extended clip of Professor Reznikoff demonstrates.

You can access the programme website by clicking here.


Reznikoff uses throat singing or overtone chanting. The reverberation in this recording is very long, and so the sounds are very loud. Interestingly many of the Spanish painted caves are not nearly as reverberant as this.