my last recording, at 11am on Sunday 15th July, I chose position
3 - where I guessed that an audience may have stood when the
hill was in use 4000 years ago. In the winter, a wide moat forms
around the hill and this appears to be part of the original design.
I stood just north of the area that floods, and from there the hill
appears much bigger than it does from the road. All of the instruments
could be heard clearly - even some conversation. As observed in
the other recording positions, sounds appeared to travel somehow
over the top of the hill: musicians can be heard even when they
are not visible. This is not an effect of the wind, which sometimes
blew in the opposite direction.
The braying, high notes of the Celtic Trumpet produced a surprising
effect. All the instruments were played in four positions - facing
N, S, E & W. The Celtic Trumpet is very directional (as are
the animal horns) and extremely loud. When Simon played facing east,
clear repeat echoes were heard - resounding from two different
locations on Waden Hill. The echoes are between a third and half
a second in length. Similarly, when he played the trumpet facing
south, slightly shorter echoes were heard - this time from the hills
to the SW of Silbury. I understand that the musicians on the hill
were also aware of echoes, but I have no details.
These tests were made under poor conditions: strong winds, birdsong,
planes and traffic all made listening quite difficult. On a misty
and still day in the winter, sounds will carry much further and
it is possible that quieter sounds will echo - maybe even the calls
of Rooks and Buzzards. My feeling is there is very likely a 'sweet
spot' somewhere between recording positions 1 and 3
where the echoes will be at their most dramatic; and that is where
an audience would have been positioned for maximum theatrical effect.