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Journal of Anthropology and Archaeology
June 2015, Vol. 3, No. 1, pp. 59-79
ISSN 2334-2420 (Print) 2334-2439 (Online)
Copyright © The Author(s). All Rights Reserved.
Published by American Research Institute for Policy Development
Archaeoacoustic Analysis of the Ħal Saflieni Hypogeum in Malta
Prof.agg. Paolo Debertolis1, Dr. Fernando Coimbra2 & Linda Eneix3
Recently we studied the acoustic properties of the underground Ħal Saflieni
Hypogeum in Malta. Identified as “architecture in the negative”, it is a unique
prehistoric complex, intentionally sculpted with features that mirror megalithic
temples above ground. It is known that the Hypogeum was used in the Neolithic
not only as a depository for bones, but also as a shrine for ritual use. In a room
known as the “Oracle Room” set in the second level of the hypogeum, we have
been able to detect the presence of a strong resonance effect: a double resonance
frequency at 70Hz and 114Hz. With a male voice tuned to these frequencies it is
possible to stimulate the resonance phenomenon throughout the hypogeum. It was
further detected that percussion instruments can stimulate the resonance by their
harmonics. Laboratory testing indicates that these frequencies have a strong effect
on human brain activity. Since it is likely that the chambers served as centers for
social or spiritual events, the resonance of the chamber cavities would have
supported human ritual chanting and mystic consciousness.
Keywords: Archaeoacoustics, Ħal Saflieni, hypogeum, resonance, brain activity,
Archaeoacoustics is a recent interdisciplinary field of study, using different
parameters to examine ancient sites for overlooked technology that operates on the
human emotional sphere. Archaeology has most often focused on visual appearance
and physical objects, although the past was not a period of silence.
1 Department of Medical Sciences, University of Trieste, Chair of Dental Archaeology, Project SB
Research Group on Archaeoacoustics (SBRG), Italy
2 Quaternary and Prehistoric Group, Centre for Geosciences, University of Coimbra, Portugal.
3 Mediterranean Institute of Ancient Civilizations, The OTS Foundation, United States and Malta.
60 Journal of Anthropology and Archaeology, Vol. 3(1), June 2015
The intent of archaeoacoustics is to explore the importance of sound in the
past and in particular its role in the development and design of ritual architecture and
its possible impact on the biological activity of the human brain.
The purpose of this paper is to verify the ability of Neolithic builders to
manipulate sound in the archaeological site of Ħal Saflieni and the real weight of
physiological impact from acoustic phenomena in this hypogeum by using new
technologies. Since this UNESCO World Heritage site has to follow concise rules for
conservation, we had only the possibility to focus our research in the so called Oracle
Research over four years by SBRG4 has shown that several ancient
populations were able to influence their perception of the human body using sound to
obtain different states of consciousness, without the use of drugs or other chemical
substances. Further, ancient people were able to detect natural phenomena to create a
similar state of altered consciousness (Debertolis & Savolainen, 2012; Debertolis &
Bisconti, 2013a; idem, 2013b; Debertolis, Mizdrak & Savolainen, 2013; Debertolis,
Tirelli & Monti, 2014; Debertolis &. Bisconti, 2014).
SBRG is also concluding a new study in collaboration with the
Otorhinolaryngology Clinic and the Clinical Neurophysiological Service of
Department of Neurology in Trieste (Italy) for the assessment of the effects of
resonance phenomena on the human body (Debertolis, Tirelli & Monti, 2014).
Volunteers underwent examination by EEG while listening to tones between 90Hz
and 120Hz, similar to the resonant sounds present in some Neolithic structures in
Europe (England, Ireland, Italy, and Malta). The preliminary results confirm that
those frequencies have a strong effect on human brain activity (Debertolis, Tirelli &
Monti, 2014). These last studies follow similar research carried out inside megalithic
chambers from the UK, arguing that brain activity at 110Hz is significantly reduced in
language centres, allowing other processes to become more prominent (Cook et alli,
2008). According to P. Devereux (2006) this kind of brain activity is associated with
the half-awake/half-asleep hypnologic state with vivid mental imagery and auditory
4 SB Research Group (SBRG) is an international and interdisciplinary project team of researchers
investigating on archaeoacoustics of ancient sites and temples in Europe
Debertolis, Coimbra & Eneix 61
Archaeoacoustics, as mentioned before by several authors (Errico & Lawson,
2006; Scarre, 2006), has similar methodological problems with Archaeoastronomy
regarding the determination of deliberate actions by prehistoric human beings, or the
intentionality of their monument building acts (Coimbra, 2014). However, as C.
Scarre (2006: 9) referred, “the archaeoacoustics of prehistoric contexts is potentially a
vital part of the understanding of the lived experience of past societies”.
The Maltese Ħal Saflieni Hypogeum
It’s generally accepted that the first time man arrived on the Mediterranean
islands of Malta was in 5,200 BC. Through archaeological excavations and the use of
carbon 14 dating, the construction there of a number of megalithic temple complexes
is placed from around 3,600 BC (Pace, 2004). Many researchers have tried to analyze
and study the Maltese temple building culture. The most widely known were: Zammit,
Ugolini, Ceschi and the British archaeologists Trump and Evans.
The Ħal Saflieni Hypogeum is an underground complex dug into the rock. It
was accidentally discovered in 1902 during construction work and had been
undisturbed until then, from the time of its abrupt disuse (around 2,500 BC) by the
culture that made it. The first description of eerie sound behavior and odd echoes in
the site came in 1920. Writing for the National Geographic Magazine, William Arthur
Griffiths pointed out that “Here it was noticed only a few months ago that any word
spoken into this place (the Oracle Room) was magnified a hundred-fold and audible
throughout the entire underground structure. A curved projection is specially carved
out of the back of the cave near this hole and acts as a sounding-board, showing that
the designers had a good practical knowledge of sound-wave motion. The impression
upon the credulous can be imagined when the oracle spoke and the words came
thundering forth through the dark and mysterious places with terrifying
impressiveness” (Griffiths, 1920: 465).
The complex consists of a system of chambers and passages that develops
into three distinct underground levels until reaching a maximum depth of about 11
meters and covering an area of about 500 km2. From first glance this immense work
seems to be the result of a well organized and advanced civilization. The Hypogeum is
known to date back to at least 4.000 B.C., if not slightly earlier. According to Pace
(2004) Zebbug Phase pottery from this period has been discovered on site.
62 Journal of Anthropology and Archaeology, Vol. 3(1), June 2015
Amazingly, the rock was excavated using only simple tools made of bone or
hard stone. According to Carbon 14 dating the Hypogeum was used over a span of
many centuries during which the monument experienced a large number of
modifications (Pace, 2004). The architecture of this hypogeum features a curved
shape such as an apsis cellae of the surface temples. It is remarkable to see the
deliberate choices made in the excavation of the chambers which would easily have
allowed other more spontaneous and rational solutions. It is full of arches, vaults and
domes (Ceschi, 1939). The pseudo-façade in the area known as Holy of Holies even
suggests a temple.
Fig. 1: The Central Hall of the Hypogeum (Photo: Archival MTA)
Debertolis, Coimbra & Eneix 63
Fig. 2: Map of the Maltese Hypogeum Ħal Saflieni . At the Bottom of the Map
is the Oracle Room, where the Experiment was Made
The Maltese hypogeum played two roles, the first as a sanctuary dedicated to
worship, possibly of a Mother Goddess; the second as a burial place, as evidenced by
the remains of thousands of skeletons with their ornaments and their pottery. It has
been hypothesized by Evans (1971) that the interconnected holes in the floor in front
of the entrance to an area known as the “Holy of Holies” could have been used to
collect the libation of animals destined for sacrifice, or for solid offerings, with rope
being run through the holes. This feature is also found in the ground outside the
entrance to the above ground temples.
Some of the holes in the walls of the hypogeum chambers are attributable to
the practice of oracles, as it happened at Delphi many centuries after. It is plausible
that a priest took advantage of the echo phenomenon and resonance, answering
anonymously any questions that were asked. The most interesting example attributed
to this fascinating practice, is inside the “Oracle Room”. Speaking from a niche
carved inside this room, the voice is greatly amplified and deepened. Evans had
already noticed the acoustics of that niche, mentioning that “undoubtedly a deep
echoing sound can be set up by speaking into it” (Evans, quoted by Devereux, 2009:
227). There is also a second niche which seems also to have importance as regards
64 Journal of Anthropology and Archaeology, Vol. 3(1), June 2015
This chamber seems to be the center for generating resounding echoes that
continue into other parts of the Hypogeum with a pinball effect. At the right
frequency, there is an amplification not only of the sound but also its duration.
During our experiments, it was reported that some sounds in the Hypogeum
reverberated (or echoed) for as much as 7 or 8 seconds after the original sound had
stopped. These would be the resonant frequencies.
The word resonance comes from Latin and means to "resound" - to sound
out together with a loud sound. Resonance is a common cause of sound production
in musical instruments. In this case, instruments are set into vibrational motion at
their natural frequency when a person hits, strikes, strums, plucks or somehow
disturbs the object. Each natural frequency of the object is associated with one of the
many standing wave patterns by which that object could vibrate.5 In physics,
resonance is the tendency of a system to oscillate at greater amplitude at some
frequencies than at others. These are known as the system's resonance frequencies. At
these frequencies, even small periodic driving forces can produce large amplitude
oscillations, because the system stores vibrational energy.6 Ħal Saflieni’s Oracle Room
responds with highest aural effect to frequencies within a range that can be sung by a
bass or baritone voice.
A radio frequency spectrum engineer who was with our group observed that
“The Oracle Chamber ceiling, especially near its entrance from the outer area, and the
elongated inner chamber itself, appears to be carved into the form of a wave guide.
The very low frequency sounds that echo strongest in the Hypogeum have very long
wavelengths, thus the wave guide employed would need to be quite large. “I believe
The Oracle Chambers’ size itself is of the magnitude as to create the wave guiding
effect upon the sound waves produced within.” (Kreisberg, 2014). Also Trump had
noticed that the end wall of the Oracle Room has the evidence of the carving of a
projecting ridge that “might have been specially made to carry the sound” (Trump,
quoted by Devereux, 2009: 227).
Debertolis, Coimbra & Eneix 65
Fig. 3: The Oracle Room, Looking Outward, before the Insertion of the
Footboard for Visitors. It is Possible to see the two Mentioned Niches and
Prehistoric Paintings (Photo: Heritage Malta)
Another important aspect of the Hypogeum is the presence of red ochre
prehistoric paintings, consisting essentially of intricate spirals, some disks and other
geometric patterns, which certainly had a symbolic meaning. They may have been
related to funerary rituals, to worship or both. It is not our intention here to make an
interpretation of these figures. However they may have been related with the
acoustical properties of the Hypogeum (Coimbra, 2014). As a matter of fact, they
seem to be associated with the second niche after the entrance, that has itself three
painted red disks on its inside surface. The intricate spirals and disks, smaller near the
entrance of the room, grow larger in size when approaching this niche and stop just
before reaching it. Paul Devereux argues that the niche had the function of a speaking
tube of some kind, for oracular or other purpose” (Devereux, 2009: 229), also
mentioning that “spirals are indeed suitable visual analogues for sound” and that “the
increasing sizes of the spirals and especially of the disks could signal amplitude - i.e.,
the special acoustic qualities of the niche” (Devereux, 2009: 230).
66 Journal of Anthropology and Archaeology, Vol. 3(1), June 2015
Certain kinds of sounds seem to have a large influence on the emotional
processing of individuals. For example, hearing traditional mantras, or a non-semantic
sound used in meditation has an effective influence on human brain activity, which
has been shown in scientific publications (Xu et al, 2014). During the last experiments
in the Hypogeum, the sound of a horn played in the Oracle Room was felt crossing
the body of one of us (F. Coimbra) at high speed, leaving a sensation of relaxation,
while standing in front of the prehistoric paintings in room 20. After some minutes,
that instrument was played again and the result was similar but even more relaxing,
accompanied by the illusion that the sound was reflected from the author’s body to
Now some questions arise:
- Did Neolithic human beings feel similar body sensations, caused by sound, at the
Ħal Saflieni Hypogeum or elsewhere?
- Could the prehistoric paintings from the Maltese Hypogeum be the “depiction” of
eventual bodily experiences caused by sound and related imagery?
In order to answer these questions in a more objective way, further research
must be done, not only at Ħal Saflieni but also at other Neolithic chambers from
Europe, especially in those that have megalithic art on their walls and sound
reverberations with a frequency around 110Hz (Coimbra, 2014).
Materials and Methods
The experiment was carried on over several hours on the 21st of February
2014, specifically in the Oracle Room in the main level of the hypogeum. Gathered by
the help of the Old Temples Study Foundation (OTSF), a multidisciplinary group of
researchers aimed to explore the phenomena of sound (human voice or musical
instruments) generated in this room in the well-known 'node of resonance' as it was
indicated by previous researchers during past investigations (Evans, 1971; Trump,
1981; Devereux, 2009). We were positioned close to the first niche on the left of the
entrance of the Oracle Room. This is the optimum position to achieve a resonance
effect, which allowed the frequencies to expand in every chamber.
7 It can be argued that this is a subjective state of mind. However, a similar experience was felt by
another researcher at the prehistoric chambered monument of Maeshowe (Coimbra, 2014), being then
important starting to gather this kind of information.
Debertolis, Coimbra & Eneix 67
Research was conducted in darkness or very low light, necessary for
conservation of the ancient paintings in the site. We used SBRG’s recording
equipment and high-end microphones used in previous missions in Europe. The
equipment consisted of two dynamic high-end recorders extended in the ultrasound
field with a maximum sampling rate of 192 KHz (Tascam DR-680) or sampling rate
of 96 KHz (Tascam DR-100). The microphone equipment was provided with a wide
dynamic range and a flat response at different frequencies (Sennheiser MKH 3020,
frequency response of 10Hz - 50.000Hz) with shielded cables (Mogami Gold Edition
XLR) and gold-plated connectors. Another digital recorder (Tascam DR-100) was
placed on a tripod outside the Oracle Room for recording the diffusion of the sound
outside the chamber. All recordings were performed according to the Standard SBSA
protocol for archaeoacoustics (Debertolis, Mizdrak, Savolainen, 2013).
Fig. 4: The Microphones were Placed in the Center of the Room on two
Tripods set within the Limit of Railing, so the main Recorder (Tascam Dr-680)
Before all we recorded the background noise coming from the neighbourhood
of the hypogeum. We have to remark that the hypogeum is below some houses of the
Maltese town of Paola. But nothing of interesting was noticed.
68 Journal of Anthropology and Archaeology, Vol. 3(1), June 2015
Fig. 5: The Baseline Sound of Ħal Saflieni Hypogeum: Nothing to Remark,
Just a Little Noise from the Neighbourhood, but at Very Low Volume
In the interest of replicating conditions present in ancient times, male voice
was used, such as for singing or praying, which included vocalization at the target
110Hz frequency. This frequency equates with A2 on a modern musical scale and falls
in the range of a baritone. A female voice was also tested. Then we used some
traditional musical instruments which could have been present during the time the
hypogeum was in use. Thanks to the knowledge of the Maltese musicologist, Anna
Borg Cardona, the following Maltese instruments were used in this experiment:
The large Mediterranean marine shell Charonia Lampas, known as bronja, with
apex chipped off. It measures: 280mm long x 150mm wide, apex diameter 25mm.
Several fragments of Charonia shells have been excavated from prehistoric sites on
A bull horn with an added reed mouthpiece, known as qarn or qrajna. Horn 20mm
long x 75 mm at its outer serrated edge. Pointed end is sawed off and an Arundo
donax downcut reed inserted. Animal horns have been found preserved in
prehistoric sites inside sacrificial altars and seem to have been endowed with some
A friction drum known as rabbaba or
This is a Maltese traditional folk
instrument. It consists of a clay pot 210mm high x 150mm diameter at base x
210mm diameter at top open end. Stretched over its open end is a goatskin, fur
side up. Into the centre of the skin an Arundo donax rod 600mm high has been
securely tied. Vibrations are produced by rubbing the rod with a damp sponge.
Debertolis, Coimbra & Eneix 69
Fig. 6 – Top: The Marine shell Charonia Lampas, known as Bronja. Below:
The Bull Horn with an Added Reed Mouthpiece, known as Qarn or qrajna
Fig. 7 – The Maltese Traditional Folk Instrument Friction drum, known as
Rabbaba or Żafżafa
70 Journal of Anthropology and Archaeology, Vol. 3(1), June 2015
The last musical instrument was a percussion instrument that is known as
“Irish drum” or also as "shamanic drum" still commonly used today in Celtic music
performed in Northern Europe. This ancient drum is found in virtually all cultures of
the world and is still made today. The materials would have been available in the
Neolithic period corresponding to the construction of the Hypogeum. It is a drum
with one head, built on a circle of solid wood on which is stretched an animal skin,
typically goat or deer, but skins can also be derived from different animals, depending
on the area and culture. The sound of this instrument is deep, but if the skin is damp
from moisture, the tone changes as it vibrates less. The skin needs to be dry to
produce the correct sound. So the sound can change very quickly and is conditioned
by the environment. If this is humid then the skin needs to be heated over a fire in
order to obtain a more pure sound. For our research we used a shamanic drum with a
diameter of 40 cm made from goat skin.
Fig. 8 – The Irish Drum used during the Experiment by our Research Group
The correlation between the sound source and response of the chamber
through sound spectrum graphics (using computer audio programs) was verified at
the same time as the singers voice vibrations were being correlated to the response of
the chambers. PRO TOOLS ver. 9.05 software for Mac was used to overlap and mix
the various recorded tracks, Praat program version 4.2.1 from the University of
Toronto and Audacity open-source program version 2.0.2, both for Windows PC.
The singers performed a repertoire of ancient chant and overtone singing. It was
found that mantras and modulated frequencies typical of various mystical songs and
prayers excited the surrounding structures at particular frequencies.
Debertolis, Coimbra & Eneix 71
We detected that the male voice can stimulate the resonance not only at
114Hz, but also 68-70Hz. So there are two frequencies that could be used for having
a strong effect during rituals in the Ħal Saflieni Hypogeum. This is a bit different
from the 110/111 Hz that was initially expected, based on previous research in other
Neolithic chambers (Cook et alli, 2008), but still within what has been called “the
megalithic range” of resonant frequency found in similar stone sites (Jahn et alli, 1995;
Debertolis & Bisconti, 2013).
The base line of frequency for male voice has a range from 77 Hz to 482 Hz
(Stemple et alli, 1994), although a trained male voice can go as low as 70Hz. In fact
our singer was able to reach this frequency, as can be seen on the graph. High volume
of the voice is not required for the stimulation: a weak voice at the right frequency
can have a good effect.
Fig. 9: The Plot of the Voice of the Singer during Normal Extension. It is
Possible to see the Harmonics of Male Voice Expanding in the Oracle Room
72 Journal of Anthropology and Archaeology, Vol. 3(1), June 2015
Fig. 10: If the Singer arrives at 68-70Hz the Chamber Strengthens the Voice by
Resonance effect. In fact it is Possible to see a Large Peak Around this
Frequency not Present at Different Frequencies
The shouting voice of either male or female, does not expand itself a lot in the
hypogeum. In the graphs it is possible to see the different extension, but with a hole
of frequencies before and after the harmonics.
Fig. 11 : The Harmonics of a Male Voice during Shouting. There is a hole of
Frequencies before and after, Corresponding with no Response of the
Hypogeum. The Peak is around 900Hz
Debertolis, Coimbra & Eneix 73
Fig. 12: The Female Shouting Voice looks similar to the Male Shouting Voice:
No Response from Hypogeum. The Peak is around 929 Hz
With the use of the instruments, the effect was not the same. In particular the
sound of the conch shell was very strong, but not able to stimulate the structure.
Fig. 13 – The Conch shell has a Strong peak around 290Hz, but too High to
Stimulate the Structure
As mentioned before, the sound of a bull horn played in the Oracle Room
was felt crossing the body at high speed, leaving a sensation of relaxation in some
researchers present at the experiment.
74 Journal of Anthropology and Archaeology, Vol. 3(1), June 2015
Fig. 14: The bull horn. The Graphic doesn’t show any Activation of the
Structure, but it is Extended also in the Ultrasound Band
Curiously, the recordings didn’t indicate activation of resonance in the Oracle
Room by the bull horn. However, the sound of this instrument was “felt” intensely.
This is probably because this instrument has an extension in the band of ultrasounds.
Future analysis of this effect in the hypogeum is indicated because ultrasound has a
direct effect on the human body, and the reflection of sound waves by the walls of the
hypogeum was very strong in this experiment. The friction drum obtained only a
partial effect of resonance stimulation. This is because the model we used in the
hypogeum was not tuned up at the right target frequency (114Hz). Our friction drum
had instead a base frequency of 109Hz. So it stimulated the resonance of Oracle
Room only partially. We can suppose that with the right instrument the effect could
be very, very strong.
Fig. 15: The friction drum partially stimulated the structure. In fact it is
possible to see a second peak out of the normal harmonics of the instruments
around the frequency of resonance of the Oracle Room (114Hz)
Debertolis, Coimbra & Eneix 75
The Irish drum, or shamanic drum, obtained the best performance in the
Oracle’s Chamber. Its harmonics were able to stimulate the structure very strongly at
114Hz and 70Hz. But it is important to have a high volume pressure for good
response. If the drum is hit by soft hand instead of by a ram there is low resonance
effect from the structure.
Fig. 16: The hit on the Irish drum that has a base Frequency around 40Hz
But if the hit is sufficiently strong, the response is very impressive, because the
structure responds as it does to a male voice saying “oooh”. This is an amazing effect
that is particularly evident if we compare the graph of the hit with the graph of the
voice response of the chamber.
Fig. 17 – Immediately after the hit, the room gives its Response at 114Hz and
just a little around 70Hz
76 Journal of Anthropology and Archaeology, Vol. 3(1), June 2015
If the drum is hit only with the hand without a strong pressure the effect is
less. The peak of the response of the room at 114Hz is also less if the peak around
70Hz is more evident.
Fig. 18: The Soft Hand on the drum has Less Resonance Effect
We discovered that the response in the Oracle Chamber is highest at 114Hz
and 68-70Hz, so at these frequencies it is possible to activate the greatest resonance of
the structure by male voice during chanting or singing. Also the frame drum (Irish or
shamanic drum) can stimulate the resonance by its harmonics at the right rhythm and
at the right sound pressure. The same happens with a friction drum, an ancient
Maltese instrument, if tuned at the right frequency. We cannot rebuild the rituals
made in this hypogeum, but we are able to imagine that the music and some singers
had a strong role in them. Further, these resulting frequencies have a direct effect on
the human brain that presents a striking aspect for rituals (Debertolis, Tirelli & Monti,
The intentions of the Neolithic makers of the underground mortuary shrine
can never be fully known, but it is naïve to think that ancient people failed to notice,
or would not have used the sound effects of the place in some way (Eneix, 2014). The
carving of the two niches which concentrate the effect of sound, the curved shape of
the Oracle Chamber with its “shelf” cut high across the back, the corbelled ceilings
and concave walls that are evident in the finer rooms are all precursors of today
acoustically engineered performance environments. Their development seems not to
be by chance.
Debertolis, Coimbra & Eneix 77
Although the know-how of the Ħal Saflieni builders was empirical, it need not
diminish their ability to manipulate a desired human psychological and physiological
Fig. 19 – The Test with the voice in Oracle Room. This photo has been
bEnhanced as far as Possible from a Video Capture
Only minimal lighting was permitted, for protection of prehistoric paintings.
At the end of this paper we can conclude that we have reached our opening
purpose for better defining the acoustic aspects of Ħal Saflieni Hypogeum. New
thoughts about the intention of this site’s builders has been made possible by a multi-
disciplinary approach that includes archaeological and anthropological context as well
as acoustic analysis technology. Through new technologies and ancient instruments
we confirmed that it is possible to stimulate the phenomenon of resonance in the Ħal
Saflieni Hypogeum not only by a male voice praying or singing, as checked in
previous studies, but also by a percussion instrument. So the use of the phenomenon
for ritual purposes would not be limited to a male with a low voice, but could equally
have been exploited by a female with a drum. This may have significance in the
exploration of traditions of a Neolithic Mother Goddess culture and improve the
knowledge of the use of this hypogeum. Combined with research on the effect of
acoustics on the human body, we can say archaeoacoustics is an interesting new
method for reanalyzing ancient sites. Indeed, its study presents a chance to recover
“ancient knowledge” that affects the emotional sphere of human consciousness, as
well as to broaden our understanding of the ancient world.
78 Journal of Anthropology and Archaeology, Vol. 3(1), June 2015
We are grateful to Professor Iegor Reznikoff for the performance of his
extraordinary voice during the experiment in Ħal Saflieni Hypogeum. Thanks to Dr.
Ezra Zubrow and Prof. Torill Cristine Lindstrom for their shouting voices. Credit for
his on-site photographic documentation goes to Kerem Akalin. Sincere thanks to
Anna Berg Cardona for her collaboration in testing the ancient musical instruments in
the hypogeum and her special advices in musicology. Thanks also to Heritage Malta
which authorized the use of the hypogeum for the experiment and in particular to Dr.
Katya Stroud and Maria-Elena Zammit for their support in our research. A sincere
thank you to our scientific assistant, Nina Earl, for her support in the drawing up of
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