Stonehenge and Other Megaliths are Mind Altering Acoustical Devices

Stonehenge: a great place to jam out

Talk about Stonehenge: a great place to jam out!

Studies spanning decades have revealed that Stonehenge and other ancient megalithic structures and tombs may have been used to create music and various mind altering sounds. These studies represent a relatively new theory to explain what megalithic structures like Stonehenge were used for, and how important they were to early humans. They have also created a new field of study called archaeoacoustics, the study of the acoustical properties of archaeological sites.

According to authors Steven Brown, Björn Merker, and Nils L. Wallin in their book The Origins of Music,

The language-centered view of humanity has to be expanded to include music, first, because the evolution of language is highly intertwined with the evolution of music, and, second, because music provides a specific and direct means of exploring the evolution of human social structure, group function, and cultural behavior. Music making is the quintessential human cultural activity, and music is an ubiquitous element in all cultures large and small.

Music plays a much larger role in the history and evolution of humanity than we normally give it credit for. So, maybe it isn’t so far fetched that early humans dragged 25 ton stones over 100 miles just to create Stonehenge and jam out. This is the conclusion that researchers from the Royal College of Art in London are beginning to entertain.

Related Article: The Mystery of America’s Stonehenge: Coral Castle

In 2006 Paul Devereux and Jon Wozencroft began testing rocks with digital field sound recorders in hand. They focused most closely on rocks found at a site called Carn Menyn in South-West Wales, where archaeologists believe many of the blue stones used to create Stonehenge and other similar megalithic structures in the area came from. The researchers stated that,

Because it would be impractical to attempt to acoustically test all the thousands of individual rocks involved, our methodology was to conduct percussion tests using small hammerstones on many rocks (over a thousand in all) in organized transects at points along the Carn Menyn ridge. From this we could make an informed estimate of the incidence of ringing rocks.

While not all of the stones at Stonehenge they tested “rang,” or made various drum, gong, and bell-like sounds when struck, a surprising number did. The variation in the sounds that the rocks can make is incredible. After having a listen it is very easy to imagine our ancestors creating ritualistic music or just killing time by jamming on the gigantic monoliths.

Related Article: Modern Language May Share Common, Ancient Ancestor 

It was inevitable that the researchers would test the stones at Stonehenge. They expected all potential sound to be muted due to a lack of air space around each stone. The results, however, surprised them, as they were still able to play the monoliths like giant xylophones. Amazingly, archaeologists have reproduced the results of this study many times at various sites around the world, even in ancient crypts in Greece. Some researchers have even created reproductions of what ancient Lithoacoustic (music created from stones) songs may have sounded like.

Time to swallow some cactus and trip out at the local megalith!

Time to swallow some cactus and trip out at the local megalith!

Research into archaeoacoustics jumps down the rabbit hole via a further field of study called psychoacoustics, a branch of psychophysics which deals with physiological and psychological responses to sound. Studies performed at an ancient site called Chavín de Huántar in Peru have revealed that ancients intentionally constructed sites to enhance the psychoactive effects of the San Pedro cactus, and to intensify psychedelic and ritualistic experiences. Ancients constructed their sites with such precision that a single hand clap while standing on a central staircase sounds identical to a quetzal bird. Additionally, areas of the sites were specifically constructed so that shadows produced by sunlight outside of the structure would create incredibly psychedelic shadows and effects when perceived by an ancient. According to Miriam Kolar, a researcher at Stanford University’s Center for Computer Research and Acoustics,

These structures, unlike those at Stonehenge, could be physically disorienting and the acoustic environment is very different than the natural world. The iconography shows people mixed with animal features in altered states of being. There is peyote and mucus trails out of the nose indicative of people using psychoactive plant substances. They were taking drugs and having a hallucinogenic experience.

Related Article: Music’s Grand Effect on the Mind

Mayans and other ancients were the original hippies, superior to hippies in that they appear to have empirically explored the psychological and physiological effects of sound and imagery on the observer. Right now we can only imagine what those at Stonehenge experienced during their jam sessions.

If you are interested in experiencing the effects that specific sound frequencies can have on your mind and body, check out binaural beats, which are tones that affect the way our brains function and process thoughts and information in various ways. Through the use of binaural beats, simply listening to a particular frequency can induce states of incredible calm, stimulation, or even heightened awareness. I recommend this playlist of different frequencies to experience the profound effects of these sound vibrations on the mind and body.

Screw mediation, let's just listen to these audio files and go deeper than Gautama!

Screw mediation, let’s just listen to these audio files and go deeper than Gautama!




Bitcoin’s Rise and the Cyprus Bailout


Nations around the world are flexing the powers of their central banks, from open-ended quantitative easing in the US, to Greek bailouts in the Eurozone. This top-down approach is stretching dangerously thin, both in scope and in effectiveness. One emerging contender to upend the locus of control is Bitcoin, which demonstrates a way to decentralize this authority by sidestepping the fiscal monopolies of individual governments. The demand for Bitcoins has risen dramatically in the past few months, currently trading at well over $100 per coin, as people see a potential escape hatch from traditional currencies. There is now more than $1 billion worth of Bitcoins globally, more than the entire currency stock of 20 countries.



Bitcoin is an online and anonymous currency that can be used to make global transactions. Unlike similar services such as PayPal, the servers that support Bitcoin are distributed across the world, which makes it impossible, or at least very difficult, for governments to shut down. Bitcoins can also be used to purchase traditional hard currencies like dollars, euros or yen. These advantages are making the service an attractive way for people to secure money – almost likened to a digital, mobile version of squirreling gold away in a shoebox.

People are becoming more interested in a monetary safe haven, especially considering the recent events in Cyprus. In mid-March, the European Union and the International Monetary Fund penned a deal that rightfully incensed Cypriots and sent ripples of fear throughout international markets. In exchange for a €10 billion economic flotation device, the agreement stipulated that accounts in the two largest banks in Cyprus would be given a haircut: a 6.75% confiscation of amounts under €100,000 and a whopping 9.9% for accounts holding more.


The Cyprus legislature rejected the deal. However, on March 25, Cyprus President Nicos Anastasiades, along with Eurozone and IMF officials, announced a new plan (which didn’t require parliamentary approval) that would preserve the tax on amounts of more than €100,000 but not on those with less. An estimated 40-80% of the value of such top-tier accounts could be lost. As many of these are held by wealthy Russians who use Cypriot banks as a tax-haven, this compromise seems to be an example of shortsighted and naïve thinking: “Well, it’s not our money being stolen, so it’s OK this time!”

Upon hearing the news, many Cypriots wanted to withdraw their savings to avoid the automatic deductions. However, the government simply closed banks for 12 days, eliminating that avenue of escape. Upon opening them again, withdraws were limited to €300 a day per customer, with some locations lowering the maximum to €100. Anyone leaving the country may only take €1,000 in cash with them. There also restrictions for how much money can be sent overseas.

This is one example of why Bitcoin is becoming so popular. These drastic and draconian measures that hope to ensure solvency are likely attractive to myriad nations facing economic stressors, the US included. Bitcoins can’t (yet!) be confiscated or shut down and they can be used by anyone, anywhere, for any reason. The anonymity the service provides also helps ensure that itchy government fingers–jonesing for their next fiscal fix!–can’t simply swipe money from Bitcoin owners.

People like Charles Schumer (D-NY) and the Drug Enforcement Agency decry Bitcoin for its utility in circumventing federal laws. This is completely irrelevant, as regardless of its form, money has always and will always be used for funding of any kind, illicit or otherwise. Their outrage is based on the idea that somewhere there is activity that they cannot control. Anything that unnerves moral busybodies is a net positive and is further reason to support crypto-currency. People own the fruits of their labor and anything that helps keep the government from snatching it away is something to be lauded. 

Bitcoin and other digital currencies are certainly nascent technologies prone to error. With the rapid increase in Bitcoin’s value, it has been speculated that the entire enterprise is a rapidly inflating bubble. The value has skyrocketed since early March, from $35 a coin to $145 on April 2. I wouldn’t be surprised if the theorized balloon eventually bursts, but I think the collapse would be due to its relatively recent emergence into the market rather than any inherent flaw in the currency. It takes time for new industries to fully adapt to its environment and clientele—just look at the Internet—but that doesn’t mean that the technology is unwanted or not revolutionary.



More than just Bitcoin, I am enamored with the idea of state-less money and better, safer ways for people to preserve their labor free of government intervention. I welcome increased competition in the crypto-currency market, which would help weed out design flaws, increase stability and ensure that users are as satisfied as possible. It would help individuals retain autonomy over their money, which is considerably better than the current central bank system, which either directly taxes wealth away or decreases its value more subtly through inflation.

Anything that helps maximize individual liberty is a good unto itself, and the cynic in me derives otherworldly pleasure from helping to deprive governments of the unjust ability to impose their will upon the unwilling. Bitcoin may not be perfect, but it’s a step in the right direction towards financial autonomy.


That’s a fiscal revolution worth celebrating.