Spinal Tap may have been onto something decades ago when the mock-rockers recorded their song "Stonehenge" -- a new study has revealed the ancient site could have been used as a "prehistoric centre for rock music."
The Daily Mail reports that experts at London's Royal College of Art said some of the stones -- when struck with hammers -- resemble the sounds of drums, gongs or bells. The experiment was the first time researchers were able to hit the monument located at the Salisbury Plain to see what possible noise existed.
The Daily Express added the team of Jon Wozencroft and Paul Devereux from the London institute struck the rocks in 1,000 different locations. "We are in no doubt that the source area of the Stonehenge bluestones is a noteworthy soundscape."
The Journal of Time & Mind said the Preseli Bluestones which are the stones found on the 5000-year-old site might have been picked due to their "acoustic energy." The research comes following Bernard Fagg, a "rock gong" pioneer who thought the reason for the monuments were because of their sonic capacities and thus sacred to people who lived during the Stone Age. "Different sounds can be heard in different places on the same stones," the researchers said, adding the noises varied from a wooden sound to a metallic sound.
"It was a really magical discovery and refreshing to come across a phenomenon you can't explain," researcher Jon Wozencroft told the MailOnline, later adding he believed Stonehenge could be described as the first real musical instrument, or a Stone Age equivalent of a church bell. Some of the stones were also able to maintain their sound 5,000 years later.
This follows research from 2009 that claimed, based on a study of the area's acoustics, "it may have been used for ancient raves" after Rupert Till, a university prof specializing in acoustics and music technology, believed the rocks were ideal for amplifying a "repetitive trance rhythm."
That same year, Spinal Tap revisited their Stonehenge moment with a visit to the site following a Glastonbury gig, during which they ran into Canadian electro-rockers Metric. "The best part is, it was Spinal Tap's first trip to Stonehenge as well," lead singer Emily Haines subsequently blogged: "According to Shearer, they were just making their way back to London when they spotted the source of their most memorable joke in in the distance and decided, 'This would be the time to see the full-scale version."
Stonehenge was also seen as a backdrop for the 1965 Beatles film "Help!" and from 1972 to 1984 Stonehenge was also home to the Stonehenge Free Festival which saw bands like Hawkwind, Doctor and the Medics, Thompson Twins and Jimmy Page perform over its run.
Nowadays, Stonehenge attracts crowds of up to 20,000 during the summer solstice, as you can see from the gallery below.