is the discipline that explores acoustic
phenomena encoded in ancient artifacts. For instance, theoretically a pot or vase could be "read" like a gramophone record
or phonograph cylinder
for messages from the past.
One cannot say that it is the study of sounds before the invention of recording, since "to record" is a technically ambiguous action. Sound itself is ubiquitous -- it can be recorded or naturally emanate from a variety of materials and objects. Paranormalist Paul Devereux writes:
- "Archeologists have finally realized that ancient people had ears, and have discovered that various kinds of acoustic effects—from eerie echoes to resonant frequencies that can affect the brain—seem to have been an intentionally planned component of a number of prehistoric sites worldwide, from ruined temples to rock art locations. Prehistory is at last gaining its own soundtrack."
Although many scientists have claimed to have succeeded in finding sounds from ancient pottery, there has yet to be conclusive proof that such a thing is possible, and an episode of Mythbusters that tested this theory found evidence that while some generic acoustic phenomena can be found on pottery, it is unlikely that any discernible sounds (like someone talking) could be recorded on the pots unless the ancient peoples had the technical knowledge to deliberately put the sounds on the artifacts.
An episode of Science Fiction Theatre called "The Frozen Sound," originally airing nationwide in the United States on July 30 1955 , featured a similar claim.