Soundscape, Landscape and Cultural Heritage: A Case Study in Proto-Historic Italy

Sonia Modica


The dominant perceptual sense in western culture is certainly that of sight: the “vision” of the world, even in everyday language, tends to coincide with what is perceived as reality. Not surprisingly, our being in the world is increasingly defined from the perspective of a single “point of view”. The first consequence is the progressive absorption of the multisensory component, which inevitably characterises every act of perception, within the arrangements of an ever more debased and impoverished image. Landscape is an interface consisting of objects, situations and configurations that indicate precise locations of resources and meanings. Spatial configurations that allow the identification of a resource or a meaning can be both structural (such as a row of trees) and a type of energy (such as acoustic configurations or soundscape, or the light intensity, e.g. light spots within of a forest, or olfactory, e.g. smelling traces left by an animal). In this paper a case study is provided of some material contexts, examined through the conceptual lens of “soundscape” applied to archaeology. The examination of the sound components relates to pre-Roman Italy and involves the definition of “soundscape” as a subject of archaeological research. Soundscape frequently denotes the natural sound environment through its primary physical components such as the sounds of nature (wind, water, forests, birds, insects, animals), but it is also produced by human activity, and the outcomes of phonic instrumental artefacts and mechanical actions. The len is moved, therefore, from what is observed to what is heard; as regards archaeological analysis, data is projected onto culturally-contextualised acoustic scenery.


Soundscape, Latium, Rattles, Ornaments, Perception.

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