Chavín de Huántar Archaeological Acoustics Project
An archaeoacoustic collaboration between Stanford University's Center for Computer Research in Music and Acoustics (CCRMA) and Archaeology/Anthropology

Above: Chavín Valley: site and town, from East.
Photo: José Luis Cruzado Coronel

The Chavín de Huántar Archaeological Acoustics Project is part of the Chavín de Huántar Investigation and Conservation Project (Proyecto de Investigaciones y Conservación Chavín de Huántar), authorized by the Ministerio de Cultura, Perú. We are investigating the architectural and instrumental acoustics of Chavín de Huántar, a 3,000-year old ceremonial center in the north-central sierra of Perú that pre-dates Inca society by over 2,000 years. This research endeavors to measure and explore an ephemeral class of artifact: the acoustic and psychoacoustic dimensions of ancient architecture and instruments of this Formative Andean complex.

Our primary research goal is to provide new forms of sound-related evidence in order to characterize the possible and likely components and implications of the sound environments in ancient Chavin; our future objective is to develop powerful research tools that can also be used in other archaeological sites and cultural acoustic contexts.


Above, left: stone relief-carving of Chavín personage holding Strombus and Spondylus marine shells;
right: one of the Chavín pututus, Strombus galeatus (conch) shell trumpets.

Photos of artifacts from the collection of the Museo Nacional Chavín; left: Miriam Kolar; right: Jyri Huopaniemi.