Epidaurus. Ancient Greeks might have used all manner of devices to amplify sound, including placing hollow vessels at strategic locations.
Photograph: DEA / S. VANNINI/De Agostini/Getty Images
It has been held up as a stunning example of ancient Greek sound engineering, but researchers say the acoustics of the amphitheatre at Epidaurus are not as dazzling as they have been hailed.
Dating from the fourth century BC, and seating up to 14,000 spectators, the amphitheatre has long been admired for its sound quality, with claims that audiences are able to hear a pin drop, or a match being struck, at any seat in the house. Even the British archaeologist Sir Mortimer Wheeler raved about the amphitheatre, declaring in clipped tones in a 1958 broadcast: “Even a stage whisper could be picked up by the furthest spectator with the cheapest ticket.”
But new research suggests such assertions are little more than Greek myth.
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