Gong rocks, Serengeti National Park

This granite boulder makes a metallic clang and is covered in percussive marks.

Musical artefacts provide some evidence of what our ancestors’ listened to. Unlikely as it may seem, some large boulders can ring with a metallic clang when struck with another stone. Hammered indents on large boulders like this one in the Serengeti show us that the rocks were struck and played in the past. Some of these rock gongs are assumed to date back to antiquity, but getting exact dates of use from percussion marks is difficult.

Location

North eastern end of the Moru Kopjes area, with the Mbalageti river a short distance east of it. You can also find rock gongs at other sites in Africa.


Credit

Seronera photo courtesy of Tripadvisor

Author: Trevor Cox

I am a Professor of Acoustic Engineering at the University of Salford where I carry out research and teaching focussing on architectural acoustics, signal processing and audio perception. I am also an author and radio broadcaster having presented many documentaries on BBC radio and written books for academics and the general public.

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