The Soundscape inside the Ancient Ceren Sweat Bath

Author(s): Payson Sheets

Year: 2023


This is an abstract from the "Heat, Steam, and Health: The Archaeology of the Mesoamerican Pib Naah (Sweat Baths)" session, at the 88th annual meeting of the Society for American Archaeology.

The ancient Ceren sweat bath was a communal facility of notable sophistication, especially for a commoner village. Household 2 supported its functioning with ollas full of water, pine kindling, and presumably structural maintenance. Loma Caldera’s phreatomagmatic eruption phases, with lava bombs, caused its striking preservation. An architectural firm created a precise replica that people can enter. I noted that it fundamentally changed my voice inside, and made recordings that have been analyzed by a physicist and an acoustician. The voices of young children and mature women are not altered, just those of mature males. If this effect was deliberately engineered, it opens domains of implications, suggestions, and speculations.

Cite this Record

The Soundscape inside the Ancient Ceren Sweat Bath. Payson Sheets. Presented at The 88th Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology. 2023 ( tDAR id: 474028)

Spatial Coverage

min long: -94.197; min lat: 14.009 ; max long: -87.737; max lat: 18.021 ;

Record Identifiers

Abstract Id(s): 35864.0