Mesa Talk

Conserving Sonic Heritage

The Archaeology of Sound

The most common questions any archaeologist will get about their work are where do they 'dig,' and what is their favorite 'find.' Archaeology has earned a reputation for being about the tangible, material, and visible relics of the past. Our experiences as humans, however, are multisensory. Recently, archaeologists have begun addressing the intangible and fleeting experience of sound. This talk will cover the methods we use to tease the fleeting phenomenon of sound out of the past, the ways in which sound reinforces the importance of cultural sites, and examples of challenges and successes in preserving such an invisible and intangible aspect of cultural heritage. Spoiler alert: no shovels are involved.