According to the researchers, it is a “unique type of musical instrument” dating to between 1000 and 1480 AD C. Its discovery occurred at the Old Sangayaico archaeological site, in the upper reaches of the upper Ica River basin. Because it’s composed of different types of earth, ash, and camel guano, it allows the creation of a surface that cushions shock when people step on it while producing an acoustic sound similar to that of a drum, according to the recent article in the Journal of Anthropological Archaeology.
“The sound dance platform is a fantastic discovery and shows that in addition to instruments, the human body and landscape can also be used musically,” lead researcher Kevin Lane was quoted as saying by The Art Newspaper, adding that the dance floor could have accommodated up to 26 people dancing at the same time, making a loud, throbbing noise. In addition, experts believe that the dust raised by the dance may have created a visual effect for the residents at the time.
According to the study, the structure may have served as a stage where dancers, or even selected characters, honored and worshiped the local god of lightning and thunder through dance, music and sound, thus highlighting his influence on many aspects of Andean life.
“The importance of noise and soundscapes in the Andes has long been recognized,” the publication states. In this sense, the authors emphasize that the finding is “potentially enriching” as it highlights the relevance of sound, music and dance to all types of rituals, including annual provincial and imperial festivals, funerals and even preparation for battle.