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“Witchcraft” is the result of acoustic resonance at the Devil’s Church

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A team of archaeologists from the University of Eastern Finland have proposed that “witchcraft” at the Devil’s Church is the result of acoustic resonance.

The Devil’s Church, also known as Pirunkirkko, is a 34-metre-long crevice cave located in the Koli National Park, Finland. In the vicinity are several other caves referring to the devil, such as Pirunluola (“Devil’s Cave”), Pirunvaara (“Devil’s Mountain”), and Pirunkallio (“Devil’s Rock”).

For centuries, the Koli mountain range has been revered as a realm inhabited by spiritual entities. The peaks, named Ukko-Koli and Akka-Koli, pay homage to the pre-Christian thunder god and his consort, reflecting their significance in local mythology.

Archival sources from the Finnish Literature Society (SKS) tell of “mountain elves,” “invisible fairies,” and “great lords” that move in the area:

“The inhabitants of the mountain only play and yell there, and walk through the woods, and dance and play and drive with the bells along the mountain ravines. There’s a kind of crack where they play and walk. It is said that an iron road passes via the crack through the mountain of Koli, all the way from Taipale.”

Devil’s Church : Image Credit : University of Eastern Finland

According to tradition, the Devil’s Church was a meeting place for shamans known as tietäjä, velho, or noita, who came from Finnish and Karelian agricultural communities to contact the spirit world, heal the sick, and bring balance to people and nature.

The most famous shaman was Kinolainen, also called Tossavainen, who would gather “patients” in the cave to commune with the Devil to find the causes and cures of their ailments.

Modern shamans still carry on the tradition to this day, and like their historical counterparts, they use the unique acoustic properties of the cave during incantation and singing rituals. The sages also shouted, raged, jumped, kicked, and trembled, as if fighting with or intimidating invisible forces.

In a paper published in the De Gruyter Open Access journal by Riitta Rainio from the University of Helsinki, and Elina Hytönen-Ng from the University of Eastern Finland, the researchers investigate whether the cave acoustics could have played a role in the ritualisation of the Devil’s Church and the power of its rituals.

The study used an impulse response recording and spectrum analysis, revealing a distinct resonance phenomenon that amplifies and lengthens sound at a specific frequency. According to Rainio: “Acoustic measurements conducted in the corridor-like cave show a strong resonance phenomenon.”

“The phenomenon is caused by a standing wave between the smooth parallel walls, generating a tone at the natural frequency of the cave, 231 Hz, that stays audible for around one second after sharp impulses, such as clapping, drumming or loud bangs. Tones vocalised in the cave near the 231 Hz frequency are amplified and lengthened by the cave,” added Rainio.

According to the researchers, these particular acoustics and rituals are not solitary acts but are rather collaborative engagements with the physical surroundings and the natural environment. The reverberations facilitate a profound connection and exchange with a presence or entity beyond human, affirming their existence and signalling their active participation.

The study of acoustics also gives new tools for examining and understanding the religious beliefs and experiences reported in Pirunkirkko and similar places. In addition, the study illustrates how cultural frameworks of thought guide our sensory perceptions leading to different experiences and interpretations.

Header Image Credit : University of Eastern Finland

This content was originally published on www.heritagedaily.com – © 2023 – HeritageDaily

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Archaeology

Researchers find that Żagań-Lutnia5 is an Iron Age stronghold

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Archaeologists have conducted a ground penetrating radar (GPR) survey of Żagań-Lutnia5, revealing that the monument is an Iron Age stronghold.

Żagań-Lutnia5 was first discovered in the 1960s near the town of Żagań in western Poland, with previous studies suggesting that the monument could be associated with the Białowieża group of the Lusatian urnfield culture.

The Lusatian culture existed in the later Bronze Age and early Iron Age (1300–500 BC) in most of what is now Poland. It formed part of the Urnfield systems found from eastern France, southern Germany and Austria to Hungary, and the Nordic Bronze Age in northwestern Germany and Scandinavia.

A recent study led by Dr. Arkadiusz Michalak on behalf of the Archaeological Museum of the Middle Oder River has revealed two parallel sequences of magnetic anomalies at Żagań-Lutnia5 that represent the remnants of earthen and wooden fortifications.

The course of the fortifications were recorded in the northern, western and southern parts of the study area, however, a study of the eastern section was limited due to a sewage collector built in the 1990’s.

Exploratory excavations found four cultural layers with remains of huts and hearths, in addition to a burnt layer from the last phase of occupation that suggests a period of conflict.

According to the researchers, the monument was likely built by the same people who constructed the stronghold in Wicin and a number of verified defensive settlements within the area of the Elbe, Nysa Łużycka and Odra.

As a result of the study, Żagań-Lutnia5 has been added to the catalogue of verified Early Iron Age strongholds located in today’s Lubusz Voivodeship.

Header Image Credit : Provincial Office for the Protection of Monuments

Sources : Provincial Office for the Protection of Monuments – Archaeological research at the site of Żagań-Lutnia5

This content was originally published on www.heritagedaily.com – © 2023 – HeritageDaily

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Archaeology

Rare copper dagger found in Polish forest

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A rare copper dagger from over 4,000-years-ago has been discovered in the forests near Korzenica, southeastern Poland.

Piotr Gorlach from the Historical and Exploration Association Grupa Jarosław made the discovery during a metal detector survey in Jarosław Forest.

Upon realising the significance of the find, Mr Gorlach contacted the Podkarpacie conservator of monuments in Przemyśl and the Orsetti House Museum.

The dagger dates from over 4,000 years ago, a period in which objects made from copper were extremely rare in the Central European Plain.

A preliminary study indicates that the dagger may originate from the Carpathian Basin or Ukrainian steppe, and predates the development of bronze metallurgy for the region.

This transition is traditionally known as the Copper Age and marked a gradual incorporation of copper while stone remained the primary resource utilised.

Dr. Elżbieta Sieradzka-Burghardt from the museum in Jarosław, said: “This is a period of enormous change in the main raw materials for the production of tools. Instead of flint tools commonly used in the Stone Age, more and more metal products appear heralding the transition to the next period – the Bronze Age.”

Daggers during this era were a universal attribute of warriors, however, being made from copper suggests that the owner held a high social status. This is further supported by its size measuring 10.5 cm in length, which for this period is actually very large when compared to other metal objects from the same era.

The dagger has already been added to the collection of the Orsetti House Museum in Jarosław.

Header Image Credit : Łukasz Śliwiński

Sources : PAP – A dagger from over 4,000 years ago found in the forest.

This content was originally published on www.heritagedaily.com – © 2023 – HeritageDaily

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