Stonehenge Sounds

Researchers reveal Stonehenge stones hold incredible musical properties

(Read the article on one page)

A team of researchers from London’s Royal College of Art (RCA) have discovered that the stones used to construct Stonehenge hold musical properties and when struck, sound like bells, drums and gongs.  It is suggested that these properties could be the reason why the builders were willing to travel so far to source the stones from Wales and bring them to the site in Salisbury Plain, England.

In the new study, which was published today in the Journal of Time and Mind, experts conducted acoustic tests at the site for the first time by tapping the bluestones with small quartz hammerstones to test for sonic sounds.  They found that the stones made metallic and wooden sounds in many different notes.  Such sonic or musical rocks are referred to as 'ringing rocks' or 'lithophones'.

“Different sounds can be heard in different places on the same stones,” said the researchers. 

The researchers used a special square of material to protect the surface of the rocks, but interestingly, several of the stones showed evidence of having already been struck.

The investigators believe that this ‘acoustic energy’ could have been the prime reason why these stones were transported nearly 200 miles from Preseli to Salisbury Plain, as archaeologists have not yet been able to explain why they were brought so far when there were plentiful local rocks from which Stonehenge could have been built.  For some reason, the bluestones were considered special.

“It is not controversial to say that prehistoric people would have known of the stone's capabilities. We can see indentations on the rocks - the area is amazingly untouched,” said Jon Wozencroft, senior lecturer at the RCA.

The researchers had been concerned that the musical properties of the stones might have been damaged as some of them were set in concrete in the 1950s and the embedding of the stones damages reverberation. 

“You don't get the acoustic bounce' but when he struck the stones gently in the experiment, they did resonate, although some of the sonic potential has been suffocated,” said Mr Wozencroft.

In Wales, where the stones are not embedded or glued in place, he said noises made by the stones when struck can be heard half a mile away. He theorised that stone age people might have used the rocks to communicate with each other over long distances as there are marks on the stones where they have been struck an incredibly long time ago.

One of the principal researchers, Paul Devereux is currently working on a book, Drums of Stone, which will tell the full story of musical rocks in ancient and traditional cultures.

To listen to clips of the stones being ‘played’ at Stonehenge, click here.

By April Holloway


I want to get in the news by banging on a rock. No, seriously, I do.

ancient-origins's picture

What's stopping you?

Angel Jewels's picture

Yep it seems these guys certainly havemade the paper/internet by tapping a rock!! AMAZING ....and my opinion after listening?! sounds like a man tapping a rock!!!;)

What is a "sonic sound" and are there any non-sonic sounds to be heard?

ancient-origins's picture

Sonic sounds are those that are audible, not all sound waves are audible to the human ear. 

the "one hand clapping" koan occurred to me when I saw this... ^..^

Sonic sounds are sounds which are heard in the sonic frequency of sounds which are sounds that are heard.... Sonically.

Stonehenge Rocks!

Nigel Tufnel of Spinal Tap was way ahead of the curve. In his interview with NatGeo he talked about the sonic properties of the rock and that it was also a huge amplifier. You can see these interviews on YouTube. Just look up Nigel Tufnel and Stonehenge.

When researching my book, Dreamwater, about Marblehead, MA, USA, a town which is built on granite, I came across Paul Devereux's work, in particular, Places of Power. Devereux has also recorded some pretty amazing studies with ultra-sound and granite. Characters in Dreamwater use what we call the paranormal as normal tools of life. More in this blog post - Granite Has a Heartbeat: The Paranormal As Normal

It's probably just the Cyberman in the UnderHenge making noises.

Do you know what is half a mile away? The parking lot. A human voice could be heard farther than striking these stones, positing that they were used for "long distance communication" is idiotic.

I was reminded of the movie 'What's Up, Doc?' Musical rocks were the focus of all the trouble.

Maybe they had ancuent rave party


Perhaps the sonic qualities of the rocks were how, not why they were moved.

Why is this news? This knowledge was published some 20 years ago. In fact, the location in Wales from where the stones were quarried is literally called "the place of the ringing rocks."

Archaeologists trying to uncover the mystery of Stonehenge have been digging around the wrong hill for almost a century.

Teams of archaeologists have spent the past 90 years scouring the Preseli Hills in Pembrokeshire to find the source of the prehistoric monument's iconic 'blue stones'.

Scientists believed the 11 stones used to construct the ancient site came from a hill called Carn Menyn, but geologists have since discovered they actually came from another hill - just over a mile away - called Carn Goedog.

How long was man banging these stones before the PRS turned up demanding to see their licence ??

What intrigues me most about this discovery is...
the fact that Wales is the most musical culture in all the United Kingdom

9-year-olds grow up singing the four-part harmonies of The Diadem.

Which begs the question, are the Rolling Stones a really old Rock band?

so the question is why how and what does this mean? I hope some answers will be forth coming. Sure beats the nonsense that makes the news in our 21st century and we should concentrate on exciiting exploration like this.Go for it.

Reminds me of Ringing Rocks in Bucks County Pa

Hello Jim,
I have been researching the strange acoustic properties of semi-petrified wood and have made musical instruments of this material. In the course of this work I came upon a pub [as one does] having a wall made of stone which had, as legend would have it, the ability to record the sound of patrons voices from the past and play it back!

This chimes, if you will, with the content of your article for L.P.I. and I would be very grateful if you could point me to any source material from Doctors Chubbs or Jeeves or other links specifically on this.

I was so stunned by the content of your article that I felt compelled to check whether the date was April 1st and could'nt help noticing it was published on 11/11/11 and that your recent link was posted at the 11thhour! Anyway thanks for taking the time to read this.
All the best,

Ancient civilisations knew how to utilise sound to raise structures and vibration for high magical use.

This is the same as the pyramids, the stones make a perfect A in the central chamber. ....

Startling evidence that their is rock music older than the Rolling Stones!

What if they in ancient history used sound for quarrying and shaping the stones. If they choose stone material with a very homogenious chrystal structure, there would have been resonance frequences to be found. Using these frequenses with appropriate energi input, would possible have given them an instrument for maisonry. At a certain limit , the stone would even break down due to mechanical stress.

Peter Harrap's picture

So they got these stones to Wiltshire from west wales to summon ET using sound, now? Why not just do it there? So much easier. Why build Stonehenge in Wiltshire with the bluestones unavailable there, at all.

All stones sound, everything does. You can go to any stone wall and play it. Try.

Let's shelve this idea shall we?

You might like to check out Mahayana Buddhist texts claiming that sound was used to move stones for building up onto mountainsides, and that several monasteries were created in this way

Well, it's interesting - and acoustic phenomenon can be healing when used with some intuitive knowledge apparently. (replicating your oto-acoustic emanation tone can immediately drop your blood pressure up to 45 points...) but those closing sentences again illustrate the hubris of today.

They are going to write a book "all about" the stones - like they know diddly compared to what the actual USERS knew? C'mon. They didn't even know they made tones, now they do, and so they are going to expose ALL the ancient knowledge? How about- they're going to make educated guesses based upon THEIR knowledge base and experience - and everything beyond their personal awareness is just going to be totally unknown?

Register to become part of our active community, get updates, receive a monthly newsletter, and enjoy the benefits and rewards of our member point system OR just post your comment below as a Guest.

Ancient Places

Our Mission

At Ancient Origins, we believe that one of the most important fields of knowledge we can pursue as human beings is our beginnings. And while some people may seem content with the story as it stands, our view is that there exists countless mysteries, scientific anomalies and surprising artifacts that have yet to be discovered and explained.

The goal of Ancient Origins is to highlight recent archaeological discoveries, peer-reviewed academic research and evidence, as well as offering alternative viewpoints and explanations of science, archaeology, mythology, religion and history around the globe.

We’re the only Pop Archaeology site combining scientific research with out-of-the-box perspectives.

By bringing together top experts and authors, this archaeology website explores lost civilizations, examines sacred writings, tours ancient places, investigates ancient discoveries and questions mysterious happenings. Our open community is dedicated to digging into the origins of our species on planet earth, and question wherever the discoveries might take us. We seek to retell the story of our beginnings. 

Ancient Image Galleries

View from the Castle Gate (Burgtor). (Public Domain)
Door surrounded by roots of Tetrameles nudiflora in the Khmer temple of Ta Phrom, Angkor temple complex, located today in Cambodia. (CC BY-SA 3.0)
Cable car in the Xihai (West Sea) Grand Canyon (CC BY-SA 4.0)
Next article