Tag Archives: Ruins

Roman acoustics – ancient Gerasa’s surprisingly modern technology

I’m continually impressed by the sophistication of technology from years back. Most theaters have points marked before a performance on where to stand, but this was done for acoustics. The Romans built this theater in such a way that there’s a point in the front where simply talking will be loud enough for the whole audience to hear, as if you’re speaking into a microphone with speakers. Natural amplification!  Do modern theaters and public speaking places do this?  Obviously I tried it – while we were talking I stepped on the marked square and people that were in the upper deck could hear me without raising my voice. I wish I had a photo of the startled look of the tourists taking photos from the top. See below.

Ancient Gerasa – Roman ruins in Jordan

My first stop on the road trip through Jordan was Jerash, which includes the ancient city founded by the Romans in the 1st century BCE  (called Gerasa at the time). It’s my first time seeing a city that was part of the Decapolis (Greek: Deca = 10, Polis =
town/city), a grouping of ten towns in what is now Jordan, Syria and northern Israel.