Research expedition to Greek theatres

Greek outdoor theaters are renowned for their alleged exceptional acoustics. One could drop a coin in the center of the theatre and be able to hear it on the last seating rows of the theatre. It is also said that speech intelligibility does not decrease with increasing distance from the center of the theatre.

From the Eindhoven University of Technology, students of the master Building Physics and Services organised a unique research expedition to several Greek theatres. Although Greek theatres are known for their exceptional acoustics, there is little scientific support for these claims. The goal of the expedition is to investigate the acoustical secrets of the Greek theatres.


The theatres are mapped acoustically with an innovating wireless measurement technique which makes it possible to get a broad picture of the acoustics in a relatively short timespan. The technique has successfully been used at the Architectural Acoustics event during the Dutch Design week 2014. The measurement data will be used to calculate objective acoustic parameters, but also for experiencing the acoustics of the theaters by means of auralization.

Simultaneous with the acoustical measurements, meteorological aspects as temperature, relative humidity and wind have been measured too. This enables us to investigate the effect of changing outdoor conditions on the sound transmission in the theatres. After all, the Greek theatres are outdoor theatres where temperature and wind may have an effect on the acoustics. The measurements have been performed in the 3 depicted Greek theatres. Furthermore, in preparation of the foreign expedition, the acoustics of natural theatre de Kersouwe in Heeswijk-Dinther, the Netherlands have been investigated.

Right now, the enormous amount of gathered data is being analyzed by our team. Results will be published on this website.
Odeon of Herodes Atticus Theatre (200 B.C.)
A theatre designed for music, with a rare virtually intact back wall. The theatre provides space for 5,000 people.
Theatre of Argos (200 B.C.)
One of Greeceā€™s largest theatres is carved from a hill and has a capacity of 20,000 seats.
Epidaurus theatre (400 B.C.)
One of the most well-known and best preserved theatres of Greece. This theatre contains 14,000 seats and is famous for its acoustics.

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