Feb
07
2009

Can a pyramid chirp like a bird?

El Castillo, Chichen Itza - courtesy jimg944 - CC-BY

El Castillo, Chichen Itza - courtesy jimg944 - CC-BY

Can pyramids chirp like birds?

Sure they can chirp.  They can jump up on the fence and crow too.

Well, that second item may well not be true, but there is at least one pyramid that chirps like a bird.

It is El Castillo, the great pyramid of Chichen Itza, near CanCun on the Yucatan in Mexico. A premise that the ancient Maya built their pyramids to be giant resonators producing strange and evocative sounds has been supported by teams of scientists.

The bird-call effect, which sounds like the warble of the Mexican quetzal bird, a sacred animal in Mayan culture, was first recognized by acoustic engineer David Lubman in 1998. The ‘chirp’ is triggered by a handclap at the base of the staircase.

But these echos were probably used for much greater effect than mimicing a bird call.  One example might be that since the rain god played such an important part in Maya culture, the sound effects of the pyramid could have played a major role in worship.

Striking drums at the base of the staircase creates peals of thunder that roll over the city.  As other Maya priests tramped up the steps of the pyramid, it created a flurry of pulse-like echoes that sound just like rain falling.  El Castillo has many voices and all of these sounds have been tested.

But, such meaningful interpretations may very well be fanciful.  But with the pyramid having such ability, it would take a very dim priesthood indeed to not discover and make use of such effects.

All we know for sure, is that if you clap at El Castillo, it will warble back.

For more information about Maya civilization

Related questions:

  • What is the serpent shadow at El Castillo pyramid every equinox?What is the serpent shadow at El Castillo pyramid every equinox? Here we have another of those mysteries associated with El Castillo, the largest pyramid at Chichen Itza on the Yucatan in Mexico. In another article, we have already covered the […]
  • What is the Great Pyramid of Cholula?What is the Great Pyramid of Cholula? It is in fact the largest pyramid as well as the largest monument ever constructed anywhere in the world. Each side of the structure's base is over 1300 feet in length. It has a total […]
  • What is the Bent Pyramid?What is the Bent Pyramid? The Bent Pyramid is a unique example of early pyramid development in Egypt. This was the second pyramid built by Sneferu, his first pyramid having suffered catastrophic […]
  • How many pyramids are in Egypt?How many pyramids are in Egypt? At the last counting, there are 110 Egyptian pyramids, most of which are relatively unknown to anyone who is not an ancient Egypt enthusiast. Almost all are found around and near the […]
  • Was there ever the catastrophic failure of a pyramid?Was there ever the catastrophic failure of a pyramid? When it comes to catastrophic pyramid failures, the first attempt to build a 'true' pyramid in ancient Egypt was just that.  The mysterious Pyramid at Meidum is the one involved. The […]

  Need research? Quezi's researchers can answer your questions at uclue.com

No Comments

Comments are closed.

RSS feed for comments on this post.


Privacy Policy | Acknowledgements