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(Some Gal)   Acoustic analysis has solved the mystery of the 'chirping' pyramid -- but it's still unclear whether the effect was deliberate   ( divider line
    More: Interesting  
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15093 clicks; posted to Main » on 01 Jan 2005 at 9:50 AM (13 years ago)   |   Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»

32 Comments     (+0 »)
2005-01-01 09:36:44 AM  
Since there are already 'Seven Wonders of the World' lets put this first in 'Seven Wonders of Trivia'
2005-01-01 09:57:35 AM  
When I fart in the bath the whole building can hear it. Coincidence?
ZAZ [TotalFark]
2005-01-01 10:05:05 AM  
What happens if you let a cricket loose in the pyramid?
2005-01-01 10:07:52 AM  
I think it was deliberate - done as a favor to future generations. "Lets do this and the tourists will come."
2005-01-01 10:09:32 AM  
From the article:
"Ultimately, then, it will be virtually impossible to prove that any specific echo effect is intentional."

They tried to explain the 'intended' acoustic effects to me when I was there last year, but I believe it is all a bunch of crap, just the side effect of a bunch of religiously crazed people willing to sacrifice the masses for the hope of immortality.
2005-01-01 10:21:19 AM  

So what echo effect do you get from a pyramid with an eye on top?
2005-01-01 10:23:00 AM  

[image from too old to be available]


[image from too old to be available]

/Maybe the Quetzal bird is a clever ventriloquist.
2005-01-01 10:26:56 AM  
At Kataragama in Sri Lanka, for example, a handclap by a staircase leading down to the Menik Ganga river produces an echo in response that resembles the quacking of ducks.

I've gotta call BS on this one. I've read those email forwards -- everyone knows that a duck's quack is the only sound that won't echo, and scientists don't know why.
2005-01-01 11:15:57 AM  
They say that on March 22, the shadows on this pyramid make a snake and everyone shows up to photograph it. I don't know if it's true or not, but they told me that when I was in Mexico City in April of 2004.
2005-01-01 11:19:10 AM  
mythbusters tackl;ed the no quack echo thing, its a myth, they discovered an echo, but its the same frequency as the initial quack, thus you don't hear it.

forgive spelling and grammer, im still drunk
2005-01-01 11:28:34 AM  

The 2000 election, and the 2004 election. Echo!
2005-01-01 11:33:41 AM  

The shadow created by the steps is the "shadow snake" that happens on the spring equinox.

[image from too old to be available]

It just looks like an organized pile of rocks to me.
2005-01-01 11:39:48 AM  
The only quack is the guy who posted this. haha, Merry New ChristYearMasza.
2005-01-01 11:41:34 AM  
I've been to the site...what's creepier than the acoustics at el Castillo are the acoustics at the adjacent ball court.

[image from too old to be available]

A whisper at one end can be heard clear as a bell at the other end. A handclap echoes exactly seven times.
2005-01-01 12:31:33 PM  
that image I grabbed from the web doesn't really do the ballcourt any justice, it doesn't give the viewer a sense of the's a view of the ballcourt with the perfect acoustics from the top of El Castillo (the pyramid):

[image from too old to be available]
2005-01-01 12:34:46 PM  
The researchers hope that others will make more on-site measurements of El Castillo's acoustics to see what effects other sounds sources induce.

What a fine use of scarce reasearch money this is. Lets all go to Mexico and see if we can hear an echo.

2005-01-01 12:34:55 PM  
Meh. I can turn my lights off by clapping.

Also, when I sneeze my library produces the oboe solo from Handel's opus #40.
2005-01-01 12:37:23 PM  
I wonder what would happen if a duck quacked? 'Cuz ya know, a duck's quack doesn't echo...

It's true. I saw it on that Intarweb thingie.
2005-01-01 01:03:54 PM  
The researchers got it half right.

The Maya did construct the pyramid to elicit a certain type of echo...what they got wrong was that the echo, in ancient Mayan, sez "hey you kids, get off the farking lawn!".

2005-01-01 01:46:25 PM  
If you ever go to Luxor in Egypt and see the monoliths, sneak over the rope that surrounds the one laying horizontally. Have someone stand on one side and you stand on the other and tap it. The sound can be heard throughout the monolith which is solid rose granite.
2005-01-01 02:16:08 PM  
That snake pattern that goes down the side of the pyramid during the equinox ends in a stone snake head at the bottom of the stairs. It was not coincidence; it is a remarkable engineering accomplishment.

The pyramid also has 91 steps on each side, plus one step all the way around at the top. That makes 365 steps in total. 91 steps is the number of days in a season. 365 is the number of days in a year.
2005-01-01 02:27:50 PM  

Even on my ironic comments, someone always beats me to it ;)
2005-01-01 03:42:55 PM  
gotta love those crazy mexicans
2005-01-01 05:07:19 PM  
This is not "mysterious" at all. The Mayans were very accomplished architects. The interpretations ("they were trying to mimic the Quetzal chirp/raindrops/etc.") are speculation and ultimately untestable BS, but the Mayans certainly knew what they were doing.

The only reason anything about any ancient structure seems "mysterious" is our own preconceived notion that the people of the past must have been stupid. If you abandon the prejudice that people who lived long ago were less intelligent than we are, the "mysteries" disappear and the really interesting bits emerge. They were just as human and therefore just as clever as we are.

Think about it; there was no Comedy Central, no Halo-2, and no intarweb for the Mayans to be wasting their time on, so instead, they spent their time coming up with other ways to entertain themselves. "Dude, wouldn't it be cool if it looked like a snake was slithering down the side of that pyramid?" is probably a more accurate insight into the minds of the Classic period Mayans than anything these twoinks in the article are likely to propose.

//disgusted with most archaeologists
2005-01-01 05:41:05 PM  
Stuff like this is just amazing... Would like to go see it at some point
2005-01-01 06:26:27 PM  
The question I ask when somebody claims that ancient people did something mysterious is, if they knew how to do this then what other things would they also have known how to do, and do we also see any evidence of those things? Example, if ancient people knew how to levitate thousands and thousands of huge stones to build pyramids, then they probably would have used levitation to ship heavy goods all over the place. So do we find the remains of flying sleds, or do we just find barges and oxcarts?

In this case, I wonder what architectural or math skills would make them decide ahead of time that they could make a building chirp like a bird? And do we see those skills displayed in any other way? Presumably someone would initially notice by chance that a certain building made a funny sound, then they would figure out a theory of why it happened, then play with it by trying to build various other buildings that made other sounds. At some point they would have enough of a handle on it to decide to invest in a gigantic structure that would chirp. Many buildings down there have been excavated. Do others besides the El Castillo pyramid show a progression of knowledge?
2005-01-01 06:37:06 PM  
[image from too old to be available]
2005-01-01 06:44:24 PM  

Presumably someone would initially notice by chance that a certain building made a funny sound

I'm told these are pitch perfect instruments (from the Chichen Itza site):

[image from too old to be available]
2005-01-01 07:32:35 PM  
2005-01-01 02:16:08 PM Xoc

The pyramid also has 91 steps on each side, plus one step all the way around at the top. That makes 365 steps in total. 91 steps is the number of days in a season. 365 is the number of days in a year.

wouldnt the mayans have used there own calendar, not ours.
2005-01-01 08:40:45 PM  

I agree with you.


The Mayans had a handle on the solar calender, way before any European knew what zero was.
2005-01-01 09:02:00 PM  
wouldnt the mayans have used there own calendar, not ours.

It takes the Earth about 365 days to go around the sun, regardless of which calendar you use.
2005-01-01 09:30:35 PM  
Anyone got a sound bite of the phenomenon?
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