Investigations of historic soundscapes must analyze and place results within a complex framework of contemporary and past contexts. However, the conscious use and presentation of historic built environments are factors that require more deliberate attention in historic soundscape analysis. The following paper presents a multimodal research methodology and promising preliminary results from a study at the Berlin Wall Memorial in Berlin, Germany. Here, the historic context from the Wall’s recent past is presented within the surroundings of the contemporary unified capital city. The study approached the past soundscape and present site by combining historic and current-conditions research, linking archival research, conditions assessments via binaural recording and psychoacoustics analysis tools, and soundscape surveys rooted in standardized soundscape research practices. In so doing, archival textual and pictorial sources provided a rich source of primary information integrated within the study and are suggested as a resource for similar inquiries elsewhere. The investigation identified concerns specific to heritage sites that require critical consideration for historic soundscape research of the recent past—survey-participant composition and the problematized use of typical descriptors in soundscape surveys are the two concerns that are discussed. Some standardized soundscape terminology and research methodologies were found to be insufficient in historic contexts. Initial qualitative results from the research are presented as a proof of concept for the research approach with signposts for future analysis and developments.
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