Tour guides may tell you that a pin dropping can be heard in every seat of the ancient theatre of Epidaurus – but scientists disagree

It has been held up as a stunning example of ancient Greek sound engineering, but researchers say the acoustics of the theatre at Epidaurus are not as dazzling as they have been hailed.

Dating from the fourth century BC, and seating up to 14,000 spectators, the theatre has long been admired for its sound quality, with claims that audiences are able to hear a pin drop, or a match being struck, at any seat in the house. Even the British archaeologist Sir Mortimer Wheeler raved about the theatre, declaring in clipped tones in a 1958 broadcast: “Even a stage whisper could be picked up by the furthest spectator with the cheapest ticket.”

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