听一听萦绕于心的声音—来自18000年前的海螺号
Listen to haunting notes from an 18,000-year-old conch shell trumpet
2104字
2021-02-14 21:45
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火星译客

A blast from the past —

昨日重现

Archaeologists in 1931 assumed the shell was only a broken drinking cup.

1931年,考古学家认为这个壳只是一个破碎的饮水杯。

Kiona N. Smith - Feb 12, 2021 3:57 pm UTC

Kiona N. Smith - 2021年2月12日下午3:57 UTC

Color photo of a person with a conch shell raised to their mouth, silhouetted against a red-painted cave wall.

Enlarge / Archaeologists in 1931 found the conch shell near the entrance of Marsoulas Cave. This is a reconstruction of where and how the shell might have been played.

1931年,考古学家在法国的马尔苏拉洞穴入口附近发现了海螺壳。这一发现重现了海螺壳曾经使用的地点和吹奏的方式。

G. Tosello

吉勒斯·托塞罗

After 18,000 years of silence, an ancient musical instrument played its first notes. The last time anyone heard a sound from the conch shell trumpet, thick sheets of ice still covered most of Europe.

沉寂了18000年之后,一种古老的乐器演奏出了它的第一个音符。人们最后一次听到海螺号的时候,欧洲的大部分地方还被厚厚的冰雪覆盖。

University of Toulouse archaeologist Carole Fritz and her colleagues recently recognized the shell as a musical instrument. To understand more about how ancient people crafted a trumpet from a 31cm (1 foot) long conch shell, the archaeologists used high-resolution CT scans to examine the shell's inner structure: delicate-looking whorls of shell and open chambers, coiled around a central axis, or columella. A series of overlapping photographs and careful measurements became a full-color, 3D digital model of the shell, and image enhancement software helped reveal how Magdalenian people had decorated the instrument with red ocher dots.

图卢兹大学的考古学家卡罗尔·弗里兹和她的同事最近发现这个海螺壳是一种乐器。为了更多地了解古人如何用31厘米(1英尺)长的海螺壳制作喇叭,考古学家们使用高分辨率CT扫描来检查海螺壳的内部结构,贝壳和开放腔室的看起来精致的螺旋,盘绕在中轴上,或小柱。一系列重叠的照片和仔细的测量结果形成了一个全彩色的贝壳3D数字模型,图像增强软件帮助揭示了马格达林人是如何用红赭石点装饰这个仪器的。

And in a lab at the University of Toulouse, a horn player and musicology researcher became the first person in 18,000 years to play the conch shell. The musician blew into the broken tip, or apex, of the shell and vibrated his lips as if he were playing a trumpet or trombone. Very carefully, he coaxed three loud, clear, resonant notes from the ancient instrument:

在图卢兹大学的一个实验室里,一名圆号演奏者和音乐学研究员成为了1.8万年来第一个演奏海螺壳的人。乐师向贝壳的断尖吹气,然后抖动嘴唇,好像在吹小号或长号。他小心翼翼地从这台古老的乐器中传出了三个响亮、清晰、共振的音符:

The three notes you hear are at 256Hz, 265Hz, and 285Hz, approximately a C, a C-sharp, and a D in modern terms. Wind instruments work because the air inside them vibrates, producing sound waves. At the right frequency, called a natural or resonant frequency, this causes the body of the instrument to vibrate, which amplifies the sound waves and makes the sounds we recognize as music. The three notes in the recording are the sound of the shell vibrating at its resonant frequencies.

你听到的三个音符是256赫兹, 265赫兹,和285赫兹,大约是C调,升C调,和现代术语中的D调。管乐器之所以能工作,是因为它们内部的空气会振动,产生声波。在自然频率或共振频率这种合适的频率下,能引起乐器的主体振动,从而放大声波,发出我们认为是音乐的声音。录音中的三个音符是海螺壳以其共振频率振动的声音。

Because the cavity of the conch shell forms a spiral, Fritz and her colleagues say its acoustics are pretty similar to an instrument with a conical chamber, like a French horn.

因为海螺壳的腔形成了一个螺旋,弗里兹和她的同事说,它的声学效果非常类似于带有圆锥形腔的乐器,比如法国圆号。

What's less apparent in the recording is how loud the shell trumpet is. At 1 meter (3 feet) away from the shell, the volume of the notes measured about 100 decibels. The result was powerful in more ways than one. "It was, for me, a big emotion,” said Fritz. “For me, this sound is a direct link with Magdalenian people.”

录音中不太明显的是小螺号的声音大小。在距离贝壳1米(3英尺)的地方,这些声音的音量约为100分贝。这个结果在很多方面都很有力。弗里兹说:“这让我感到十分激动,对我来说,这种声音是与马格达林人的直接联系。”

A second look at an old discovery

再看一下这个旧发现

The Magdalenian people were hunter gatherers, and they occupied the Marsoulas Cave near Toulouse, France, where archaeologists found the shell in 1931. Fritz and co-author Gilles Tosello, also an archaeologist at the University of Toulouse, were studying artifacts from the cave when they found the conch shell in the collection of the Natural History Museum of Toulouse.

马格达林人是狩猎采集者,他们居住在法国图卢兹附近的马尔苏拉洞穴,1931年考古学家在那里发现了这个贝壳。弗里兹和另一位合著者吉勒斯·托塞罗(同样是图卢兹大学的考古学家)在图卢兹自然历史博物馆的收藏品中发现了这个海螺壳时,正好在研究洞穴中的工艺品。

They had been looking for tools related to the paintings on the cave walls, but they decided to give the conch shell a closer look. The archaeologists who originally unearthed the artifact in 1931 decided it had probably been used as a ceremonial drinking cup, and its apex (the pointy tip of the shell) had broken off naturally. But Fritz and Tosello noticed that the shell actually seemed to have been carefully crafted into a musical instrument.

他们一直在寻找与洞穴墙壁上的绘画有关的工具,但他们决定仔细看看海螺壳。最早在1931年发掘出这件文物的考古学家认为,它可能是仪式上用的饮水杯,它的顶端(海螺壳的尖端)是自然脱落的。但弗里兹和托塞罗注意到,这个海螺壳实际上像是被精心制作成一种乐器。

“Some people already thought that it was a music instrument, but it is because we can also demonstrate that this shell was strongly modified, according to what is usually done for a music instrument made with a conch shell, that we can continue with this idea,” said co-author Philippe Walter, a chemist at CNRS and Sorbonne University.

法国国立科研中心和索邦大学的化学家,合著者菲利普·沃尔特说:“有些人早就认为海螺壳是一种乐器了,这是因为根据通常用海螺壳制作乐器的做法,我们也可以证明这个海螺壳是被强力加工过的,我们可以继续认定这个观点。”

According to malacologists—biologists who study mollusks like conchs—the apex of a large conch shell would be too thick and sturdy to break accidentally; ocean waves and seafloor impacts might crack other parts of the shell, but not the 0.8 centimeter (0.3 inch) thick walls of calcium carbonate that form the apex.

根据软体动物学家和研究海螺等软体动物的生物学家的说法,大海螺壳的顶端太厚、太结实,不可能不小心折断;海浪和海底撞击可能会破坏贝壳的其他部分,但不会破坏顶端0.8厘米(0.3英寸)厚的碳酸钙壁。

Stradivarius for the Stone Age

石器时代的斯特拉迪瓦里

The CT images enabled Fritz and her colleagues to look more closely for small, subtle evidence that the shell had been worked with tools rather than battered by time and chance. They found a series of small impact marks in a ring around the broken edge, as if a tool had been used to strike the shell and break it at just that spot. The result was a 3.5 centimeter (1.4 inch) wide hole at the end of the conch shell, leading into the shell's spiraling inner chambers. The hole would have been the first step in turning the shell into a wind instrument; it allowed the player to blow air into the shell.

CT图像使弗里兹和她的同事们能够更仔细地寻找小而微妙的证据,证明海螺壳是用工具加工的,而不是被时间的腐蚀和偶然撞击损坏的。他们在破碎的边缘周围发现了一圈小的撞击痕迹,就好像有人用工具击打过贝壳,并在那个位置将其击碎。然后,在海螺壳的末端出现了一个3.5厘米(1.4英寸)宽的洞,通往螺旋形海螺壳的内室。这个洞只是把海螺变成管乐器的第一步,让演奏者能把空气吹进去。

A thin brownish residue on the inner and outer surfaces of the apex might once have helped hold a mouthpiece in place, say Fritz and her colleagues. Other cultures around the world use resin or wax to attach mouthpieces to their seashell trumpets. Not enough of the material survived to identify, said Tosello.

弗里兹和她的同事表示,在顶端的内外表面有一层薄薄的褐色残留物,可能曾经用来帮助吹口固定在合适的位置。世界上其他一些文化用树脂或蜡把吹口固定在他们的海螺号上。托塞罗表示现存的材料无以鉴别是否如此。

“During the experiment, the musician remarked that the apex in its current chipped form is not functional because it could injure the lips of the instrumentalist,” wrote Fritz and her colleagues. “He proposed the hypothesis that a mouthpiece was present when it was used during the Magdalenian Period.”

弗里兹和她的同事写道:“在实验过程中,这位音乐家评论说,目前已经脱落的顶端是没有功能的,因为它可能会损伤乐手的嘴唇。”他提出了一种假说,即在马格达林时期,是有吹口的。

Fritz also carefully inserted a tiny medical camera into the shell, where she found a small hole in the columella, connecting the broken apex to the shell's interior spaces. In the CT images, the hole was marked with striations from the tool that had been used to drill or file it.

弗里兹还小心翼翼地将一个微型医疗摄像机插入到海螺壳壳中,她在小柱上发现了一个小洞,连接着断裂的顶端和海螺壳内部。在CT图像中,用条纹把这个洞标记了出来,这是曾经一种用来钻孔或锉孔的工具留下的。

“It's really a complex technical operation,” said Tosello. “The broken part of the apex is very narrow, and the hole inside is really perfectly round with a regular edge that indicates probably there was a sort of drill used, but with a stick probably to direct the action from the outside. It's a pretty elaborate technique."

托塞罗说:“这是一个非常复杂的技术操作,顶端断裂的部分非常窄,里面的洞非常圆,边缘呈规则状这表明可能是用了钻头,但可能是用棍子从外面控制的。这是一种十分精湛的技术。”

Most wind instruments also have some way to change how air flows through the instrument: holes to cover, buttons to press, or a slide to move. Modern shell trumpet players often place their hands into the mouth of the shell to modulate the sound. Fritz and her colleagues found a series of regular impact points along the outer edge of the shell—a curled liplike structure called the labrum—which they think made it smoother and easier to use.

大多数管乐器也有一些方法去改变空气流过乐器的方式:盖住洞,按住按钮,移动滑块。现代的海螺号演奏者通常将手伸进海螺口来调节声音。弗里兹和她的同事们在海螺壳的外缘发现了一系列有规律的撞击点——一种被称为上唇的卷曲的唇状结构——他们认为这种结构使外壳更光滑,更容易使用。

Hearing the sea in a landlocked cave

在陆地上的洞穴里聆听大海的声音

People around the world have made music with conch shells for thousands of years, and many groups still do, in places as far apart as Oceania, New Guinea, Japan, India, Tibet, and Greece—and even an ancient example in Syria. Today, many people associate conch shell trumpets with more tropical cultures, especially around the Pacific Ocean, so it's strange to imagine a conch shell instrument played in France in the midst of an Ice Age, observed Tosello.

托塞罗表示,全世界各地的人们使用海螺壳制作音乐已有数千年,而且许多国家依然在用,比如远在大洋洲、新几内亚、日本、印度、中国和希腊,甚至是叙利亚。如今,许多人把海螺号和更多的热带文化联系在一起,尤其是在太平洋附近,所以很难想象冰河世纪中期在法国演奏海螺壳做的乐器。”

That's especially true because Marsoulas Cave is roughly 80km (50 miles) from the coast. The conch species Charenia lampas (the original inhabitant of the shell) lives in the northern Atlantic and North Sea, in chilly waters up to 80 meters deep, so its presence in France isn't such a shock, but it shows us that people at Marsoulas must have had far-flung trade connections with people on the coast. We can also see those links in the form of a whale-bone spear point and at least two other seashells unearthed from the cave.

这一点毋庸置疑,因为马尔苏拉洞穴距离海岸大约80公里(50英里)。由于海螺物种Charenia lampas(贝壳的原住民)住在大西洋北部和北海,80米深的寒冷的水域,所以出现在法国并不惊人,但它告诉我们,在马尔苏拉的人们一定有与沿海的人有广泛的贸易往来。

“We know now that some Magdalenian people, who lived in this region, have a very important link with the Atlantic coast and especially with the Cantabrian region in Spain,” said Fritz. “It's one more element for understanding this link between ocean and land, and it's very important because you have the ocean in the cave with this artifact, and it's very symbolic for the sound, I think.”

弗里兹说:"我们现在知道生活在这个地区的一些马格达林人,与大西洋海岸有着重要的联系,特别是西班牙坎塔布连山地区。这是理解海洋和陆地之间联系的又一个要素,这非常重要,因为你在洞穴中借这个手工艺品看到了海洋,我认为它对声音很有象征意义。”

Archaeologists originally interpreted this conch shell as a broken drinking cup.

考古学家最初将这个海螺壳解释为一个破碎的饮水杯。

Fritz et al. 2021

弗里兹等.2021年

This illustration shows where someone knocked the outer lip off the shell with a series of strokes, then destroyed the apex.

这幅图像表明,有人连续击打,敲掉了贝壳的外唇,然后破坏了顶端。

Fritz et al. 2021

弗里兹等.2021年

This conch trumpet from New Zealand has a bone tube mouthpiece.

这个来自新西兰的海螺号有一个骨管吹口。

Musée du Quai Branly, Jacques Chirac

凯布朗利博物馆,雅克·希拉克

This opening was made by chipping off the solid apex of the shell to create a hole for air to flow in through.

这个开口是将贝壳的实心顶端削掉,形成一个空气可以通过的孔。

C. Fritz, G. Tosello, Muséum d'Histoire naturelle de Toulouse

卡罗尔·弗里兹,吉勒斯·托塞罗

图卢兹自然历史博物馆

Archaeologists study one of the many paintings on the walls of Marsoulas Cave.

考古学家研究着马尔苏拉洞穴壁画中的一幅。

R. Apajou

R. Apajou

This is one of the many painted panels on the walls of Marsoulas Cave, decorated with red ocher pigment in a style similar to the dotted pattern on the conch shell.

这是马尔苏拉洞穴壁上的众多画板之一,用赭石颜料装饰,风格类似于海螺壳上的点状图案。

C. Fritz

卡罗尔·弗里兹

The Paleolithic soundscape

旧石器时代的声音景观

When they came across the shell, Fritz and Tosello were looking for tools associated with the paintings in Marsoulas Cave, which included a large bison stippled with 300 red fingerprint-sized dots. And it turns out that the seashell may have been very connected to the art on the walls of the cave.

当他们发现这个贝壳时,弗里兹和托塞罗正在马尔苏拉洞穴寻找与画作相关的工具,其中包括一只大野牛,上面有300个红色指纹大小的点。事实证明,这些贝壳可能与洞穴壁上的艺术有着密切的联系。

Fritz and her colleagues could see tiny traces of red pigment still clinging to the inner surface of the shell, but when they enhanced the digital images of the shell's surface using software called DStretch, those tiny traces became the outline of round, fingertip-sized dots.

弗里兹和她的同事可以看到贝壳的内表面残留着微小的红色素的痕迹,但当他们使用DStretch软件增强贝壳表面的数字图像后,这些微小的痕迹变成了指尖大小的圆点的轮廓。

“It reminded us of the red dots made with fingertips on the walls of the cave, and we are supposing that the shell was decorated with the same pattern that is used in the cave art of Marsoulas,” said Tosello. “That to our knowledge is the first time that we can see and put in evidence of such a relationship between music and cave art in European prehistory.”

托塞罗说:“它让我们想起了洞穴墙壁上用手指做成的红点,我们假设这个贝壳的装饰图案与马尔苏拉洞穴艺术中使用的图案相同,据我们所知,这是我们第一次看到并证明欧洲史前时期音乐和洞穴艺术之间存在这种关系。”

Portable X-ray fluorescence revealed that the pigment was ocher, a favorite pigment of cultures all over the world for tens of thousands of years. Ocher was also the material of choice for the cave paintings, but there wasn't enough on the shell to tell if it came from the same deposit.

便携式x射线荧光显示,这种红色的颜料是赭石,数万年来,世界各地的文化都喜爱的一种颜料。赭石也是洞穴壁画的首选材料,但贝壳上的赭石不足以判断它是否来自同一矿床。

And the connection probably wasn't just visual. Some anthropologists who study Paleolithic cultures have focused on the acoustics of caves, trying to understand what the distant past sounded like and how those sounds were woven into people's lives. Fritz and her colleagues hope to find out what the conch shell trumpet sounds like inside the cave, or right at the entrance, where it sat for 18,000 years.

这种联系可能不仅仅是视觉上的。一些研究旧石器文化的人类学家把重点放在洞穴的声学上,试图了解远古时期的声音听起来是什么样子的,以及这些声音是如何融入人们的生活的。弗里兹和她的同事们希望在海螺号呆了18000年的洞穴内或者洞口找出海螺号声音的样子。

“For me, it is beautiful to think about the possibility to have such strong sounds in the Pyrenees, in the mountains, inside the cave, so maybe it is also something that we can try to help produce in the future,” said Walter. That might be as close as we can get to the soundscape of Paleolithic life.

沃尔特说:“对我来说,想到在比利牛斯山脉,在山洞里有可能发出如此强烈的声音是一件美妙的事,所以也许这也是我们未来可以尝试帮助产生的东西。这可能是我们能找到的最近距离的旧石器时代的声音景观了。”

We haven't heard the last of this

这事还远没有结束

Three haunting notes from the 18,000-year-old shell trumpet offer a hint of what the distant past sounded like, but they can't resurrect the songs ancient musicians might have played—or their meaning. The notes are like building blocks, but the blueprints have been lost to time. Experiments like Fritz and her colleagues' can only suggest possibilities.

18000年前的海螺号吹奏出来的三个音符萦绕在我们的脑海中,让我们了解到远古时代的声音是怎样的,但它们并不能重现古代音乐家们演奏的歌曲或它们的意义。这几个音符就像搭建中的积木,但是蓝图已经随着时间的流逝消失了。弗里兹和她的同事们所做的实验也只能提供一些可能性而已。

But Walter wants to see what modern musicians can make of those possibilities. Photogrammetry and the CT data produced a 3D digital model of the shell, and at a press conference on Tuesday, Fritz held up a 3D-printed model that had been fitted with a duck bone mouthpiece. Fritz and her colleagues plan to use digital and 3D-printed models to tinker with different mouthpiece materials to see how ancient craftspeople might have put the instrument together. They also want to digitally model the airflow and sound inside the shell.

但沃尔特想看看现代音乐家如何利用这些可能性。摄影测量和CT数据生成了贝壳的3D数字模型,在周二的新闻发布会上,弗里兹拿出了一个配有鸭骨吹口的3D打印模型。弗里兹和她的同事计划使用数字和3D打印模型,用不同的材料修补吹口,看看古代工匠是如何将这个乐器组合在一起的。他们还想对壳体内的气流和声音进行数字建模。

Walter hopes to offer the digital model to modern musicians and ask them to compose their own music with the ancient instrument. “It will be far away from the original sounds during the Magdalenian period, but it will be very interesting to try to make a link between this very ancient musical instrument, 18,000 years old, and modern music,” he said.

沃尔特希望提供这种数字模型给当代的音乐家,让他们用这种古老的乐器创作自己的音乐。他说:“它的音色将与马格达林时期的原始音色相距甚远,但是试图将这种有一万八千年历史的古老乐器与现代音乐联系起来将是一件非常有趣的事情。”

Science Advances, 2021 DOI: sciadv.abe9510  (About DOIs).

Science Advances期刊,2021年,论文链接:sciadv.abe9510  (About DOIs).

Archaeologists in 1931 found the conch shell near the entrance of Marsoulas Cave. This is a reconstruction of where and how the shell might have been played.

1931年,考古学家在法国的马尔苏拉洞穴入口附近发现了海螺壳。这一发现重现了海螺壳的曾经使用的地点和吹奏的方式。

G. Tosello

吉勒斯·托塞罗

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