TAG: archaeoacoustics, archaeo-acoustics, archeology, vibrations, infrasounds, Laško, Rimske Terme, Roman baths, thermal baths, vibrational energy, SBRG, SB Research Group.
At the end of July 2015 some members of SBRG group, Debertolis and Gullà, went to the North of Slovenia for an archeaoacoustic assessment of the site located in the vicinity of the Roman baths in the area of Laško.
In previous research carried out in the ancient Roman site of Felix Romuliana, Serbia (P. Debertolis, M. Zivic: "Archaeoacoustic analysis of Cybele’s temple, Imperial Roman Palace of Felix Romuliana, Serbia", Journal of Anthropology and Archaeology, Vol. 3 (2), 2015: pag. 1-19) we hypothesied that the construction of a sacred temple inside the palace by Roman architects was deliberate. The positioning and orientation took account of the presence of underground water whoose vibrations can affect the psyche (for example of ritual officiants within the building). Such vibrations were caused by the movement of underground water which emerged from the ground close to this temple leading to the construction of a thermal plant in the palace.
The hypothesis expands on this stating the architects of the time, a particular category of soothsayers, the so-called àuguri, has the ability to analyze local physical phenomena (such as groundwater or tectonic movement or vibration) using various methods of divination. Such was the potential impact on health, which could favor or harm those who have stayed there for long time, similar divination techniques were used to find where to place a military camp.
The study of geopathy, as a complementary science to medicine, is relatively new and in many medical circles still not recognized. In contrast, ancient Romans were familiar with this gave due consideration as to the exact siting of a particular public building, military field or spa.
To explore this hypothesis further, we went to the Laško spa area, where a thermal plant built over the original Roman baths exists. We analyzed the Rimske Terme Hotel with the owner, located over the original Roman settlementto perform an analysis of the vibrations present in the eighteenth century stone baths (replacing the original Roman ones in the same location).
Fig. 1 - The Rimske Terme Hotel Spa built right on top of the ancient Roman baths and integrates also the original tanks. It is nestled in the wood and has a large garden.
The analysis was extended to include the garden surrounding the hotel, once home to other Roman buildings no longer in existence and where for centuries exotic trees such as redwoods have stood.
The spa is still open today, in the 18th and 19th centuries, it was reserved for kings and nobles. For example, the spa bath used by Josephine Bonaparte Murat, wife of the king of Naples and sister of the more well known Napoleon I, Emperor of France.
Fig. 2 - The original bath used by Josephine Bonaparte with a commemorative plaque in German above it.
Materials and methods
Our study is focussed on the research of vibrations in the audible and inaudible abnds (infrasound and ultrasound) through use of highly sensitive water microphones (Hydrophones from North American company Aquaria). These were positioned within the stone spa baths filled with water alongside which, air microphones were positioned outside the building over a Roman bath. These Roman stone baths remain buried in the soil and represent ideal transducers to collect subsurface vibrations which are better transmitted through the water. Measurements were taken only after the stone baths were filled, allowing time for any parasite sound from the pipes to disappate.
Inside the building we used a professional three channel geophone equipped with Geobox SR04S3 dedicated software from Sara Electronic Instruments. This set up is used in the field of geophysics to identify the presence of tectonic or underground water through detecting vibrations in the range of 0.1Hz and 600Hz. This equipment was used to compare two different research methods. The geophone can not be immersed in water, however it is a highly sensitive instrument, widely used in the field of seismology to detect earthquake swarms as precursors of earthquakes.
Fig. 3 - Top: the recording equipment Tascam DR-680 connected to the ultra-sensitive microphones. Bottom: the microphones placed inside the tanks totally submerged in the water.
In order to make visible the effects and dispersion of vibrations in the air a TRV camera (variable resonance camera, known in Italy as Merlin camera or Defend X system in Japan) was also used, along with specific annex software able to process the minimum vibratory differences present in the air consequent to the movement of air molecules visible only instrumentally in the various frames of video. The software connected to the TRV works by highlighting the movement and change of chromaticity of the pixels of the collected image in UV band. For this, a lower resolution is used to avoid overloading the computational power of the computer. Reassembling the frames collected one on the other (standard deviation or STD) we have an image in the air of vibrations spread from underground.
This technique, already widely used in previous investigations by our research group and published extensively in scientific literature (Debertolis, Gullà & Richeldi 2014; Debertolis & Gullà, 2015) has to date been able to detect deep vibrations from the movement of underlying thermal waters that invest the overlying areas. In this respect, it has proven to be reliable technology.
The old stone baths in the oldest building and the small rooms inside were examined. All the equipment used detected deep infrasounds (inaudable) from underground. It is conceivable that when the human body is immersed in the thermal water, it is invested integrally by certain vibrations which have an effect on the physical body generating a sense of being.
Fig. 4 - A peak of around 14-15Hz is constant and more or less at the same volume level (-53db) in all stone baths examined to date and is accompanied by various ambient noises. In this case from the fall of a drop from the tap in the bath full of water that generates a peak between 1,000 and 3.000Hz.
Depending on the ambient noise, this level of peak appears constant in volume oscillating briefly around 14-15Hz. It is sometimes accompanied by various other spurious vibrations, but with irrelevant content for the inconstancy and inconsistency of these.
This kind of vibration (we highlight mechanical stress and not electromagnetic waves) has been found from our research group at various sites considered "sacred" that perhaps for this reason were possibly in some way revered by ancient people, as a well-being feeling.
Of interest to note is that the maximum length of time guests can stay in the bath, should not exceed 20 minutes (due to high water temperature). However, the exposure to these infrasounds for prolonged periods can overload the human body by creating a disease. Inside the pavilion with its small rooms containing the hot baths, the TRV camera observered that the vibrations seem to spread in the air causing abnormally funny morphologies to move in a curious way.
Fig. 5 - The same bath from Figure 2 taken by TRV camera in the UV band. Above: the spread of vibrations in the air in black-white image. Below: the same image but in which through the color it is possible to distinguish the vibration frequency (higher red, blue lowest). The areas in black appear unexplained.
Outside of the small rooms these vibrators are also detectable, as an unexplained phenomenon that appears to the TRV camera to be vibratory "holes" in which the vibrations appear to focus. The TRV camera was repeatedly controlled, however, the same results were obtained. Software or hardware errors were ruled out and for now these images are difficult to interpret.
Fig. 6 - The entrance hall of the pavilion that includes the thermal baths taken in the visible band (above) and in UV band after the TRV camera processing (below).
Fig. 7 - The same big room of Figure 6 taken from another angle in the visible band (above) and in UV band after TRV camera processing (below).
The data obtained from the geophone correlates with the same taken from the microphones and digital recorder. In the plot below, the geophone was positioned on the marbled paved flooring next to the baths, a peak of around 14-15Hz is recognisable along with a series of noises between 4-11 Hz. There is no significant peak that remains constant in time for which a specific meaning can be attributed (Fig. 8).
Fig. 8 - Above: the graph from the geophone in one of the baths. Highlighted in red is the 14-15Hz with a variable volume. It follows an indistinct line of noise between 4 and 11 Hz. Bottom: analytical operations through the geophone.
This particular vibration was not found to be present outside the pavilion in the garden in front of the hotel. Other types of vibrations however, were detected by German researchers that most likely marked the most salient positions the water is channeled at various locations, (these results have yet to be published).
Within the reported points by German researchers it was possible to detect a considerable variability of high volume peaks at significantly different frequencies, indicating the different morphology of the sub-surface soil along with a generation of certain sounds origninating from an underground thermal spring.
Fig. 9 - Surveys in the no. 1 position at different times. The detected frequency appears constantly around 29Hz at high volumes (-30 dB).
In the no.1 position in the garden by Rimske Terme there is an evidence of a high volume vibration of 29Hz (Figure 9), most likely origniating from the underground thermal water capable of generating a magnetic spiral disturbance (Figure 10), something that has been well-documented using UV band photography and video and by computer analysis according to the Block Matching method (Figure 11).
Fig. 10 - Point no. 1 in Rimske Terme garden taken from three different points of view. In front, a magnetic spiral field generated by the groundwater, identifiable by TRV camera and the Block Matching technique.
The Block Matching method divides the image into areas (blocks) associated with the detection of air movement that changes the brightness of the pixels within the digital image. Software calculates the estimated motion of air particles in a magnetic field by comparing the previous frame (where the image is separated through giving a value to an area) then sliding the pixels to obtain the maximum displacement area (Figure 11).
The difference in pixel brightness is determined by the steam vapour present in the air particles which naturally tend to form in a similar fashion to a dipole in a magnetic field. This micro movement is not perceived with the naked eye, but can be detected by the camera. The frames obtained from the video are individually analyzed and placed on the stack by the software (which is somewhat slow due to the huge amount of data processing required).
Fig. 11 - Analysis by software system named Block Matching (Gullà).
At the other points investigated in the hotel spa garden, especially at points 3 and 6 marked by German researchers, we were unable to detect such a powerful noise (maximum -45dB) at different frequencies from the 14Hz detected within the thermal baths.
The vibrations in the garden have a very original dispersion and UV band analysis by the TRV camera generates very strange shapes.
Fig. 12 - The garden adjoining Rimske Terme. The person sitting at the base of the tree in the foreground gives an indiaciton of the size of the centuries old redwood trees.
Fig. 13 – The dispersion of vibrations inside the garden next to the hotel.
Fig. 14 - Dispersion of the vibrations in the garden taken in a shooting image at eye level.
The findings by the geophone more than one kilometer from the thermal center have shown that the vibration flows emanate from below the surface and are completely different and devoid of interest from the psychophysical point of view.
Fig. 15 - Surveys carried out 1 km away from the spa: there are not vibrations having a profile for psychological well-being.
Discussion and conclusions
As with previous research carried out in Serbia in 2013, the positioning of the Roman baths in the Laško area does not appear to be totally random. The presence of infrasounds in those areas we examined which can change the state of consciousness and mood of exposed people to create a wellbeing state has been detected by our instruments. In particular, the thermal baths area in which the 14Hz infrasound frequency is found, has a definate positive effect on the human body as we reported in previous our researches.
How was it that nearly 2,000 years ago the ancient Romans were able to find this well-being location without use of the measuring devices we have today? It is believed that through the combined use of empirical knowledge of thermal waters from the Etruscans and the use of the soothsayers, the augurs. The ancient Romans had a high regard for these augurs, a class of priests; Titus Livius wrote in his book "History of Rome" that no decision on war or peace was taken in ancient Rome before consulting the “collegium” board (Titus Livius, Book VI). This college was formed of fifteen members chosen by the 'dictator' Silla, whose decisions (which were not about predicting the future), were required for the “approval” of the Gods (Titus Livius, Book I). Such decisionst could be viewed like a feasibility study on any business to needed to be undertaken.
The augurs have always been regarded as a special group of priests within a larger group of soothsayers (aruspices), their work since at the time of the Etruscan culture was to interpret and understand the general will of the gods. A tradition whoose origin goes back to the early days of the founding of Rome, some historians such as Squadrilli (1961) and Beard (1998) place this tradition at the time of Romulus. In more recent times, the augurs are often associated with interpretating the flight of birds, carrying a stick with a bent tip like an umbrella called a "lituum", whose function was to limit the number of birds seen in sky so that their behavior could be observed with care. This has been considered a mere superstition, which ignores birds remarkable sensitivity to environmental factors. Few people however, remember that this lituum was also used as a divining rod, and therefore it could be argued the art of dowsing was known to the Romans since the Etruscan times. At the very least, this class of soothsayers was used to search for hot springs in the Laško area to precisely locate the baths.
In modern times, dowsing has been confined to the realms of pseudo-science, however one of our collaborators revived the augurs ancient tradition by detecting natural phenomena using a pair of copper dowsing rods. In the ancient Roman palace Felix Romuliana, Serbia they obtained many successes which were later confirmed by our equipment in approximaltely 80% of cases (Debertolis and Zivic, 2015). In particular, they discovered the presence of underground water at a number of locations within the palace in the form of "blind springs", where a given number of water veins rise vertically below the surface without actually emerging above ground. Of interest is that at these same positions our research collaborator found such ‘springs’ our equipment (ultra-sensitive microphones) detected the presence of infrasounds believed to originate from the movement of such underground water.
In medical science it is well known that in the hands and chestexist vibratory receptors, the so-called Meissner’s sensors, which are capable of detecting non-audible vibrations. It is evident that personal experience and training was important for the ancient augurs to understand where the best vibrations existed to place a military camp, a spa or palace. In modern times, such studies are being rediscovered in the field of bio-architecture that takes into account characteristics of the location and surrounding environment before any construction takes place, in order to avoid the onset of geopathic stress for future occupants.
It is clear that Just as in ancient Romans times, where the thermal baths were frequented by the nobility and kings of that time, their present day location inside the hotel remains unchanged and and in modern times, anyone can benefit from their wellbeing properties.
Paolo Debertolis & Daniele Gullà, March 30, 2016.
A sincere thank you for having made available to our research the structure of Rimske Terme goes to its owner, Valery Arakelov, whose courtesy enabled us to achieve substantial results. Likewise, we are grateful to her gentle collaborator, Elizabeth Corniali, for the excellent support we received during our investigation and for his patience in tolerating all our scientific needs.
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- Tito Livio: “Auspiciis hanc urbem conditam esse, auspiciis bello ac pace domi militiaeque omnia geri, quis est qui ignoret?”, in “History of Rome”, Book VI, 41.
Edited by Nina Earl