Earliest Musical Instruments Found in German Cave

May 25, 2012 / Germany, Europe
Prehistoric Flutes Found in Germany's Geissenkloesterle Cave

Photo via Tuebingen University

Scientists have discovered two prehistoric flutes at Geissenkloesterle Cave in Germany’s Swabian Jura region.

The flutes, made of bird bone and mammoth ivory, have been dated to between 42,000 and 43,000 years old by carbon dating animal bones found in the same stratigraphic layer as the flutes. This makes them the oldest known musical instruments.

These results are consistent with a hypothesis we made several years ago that the Danube River was a key corridor for the movement of humans and technological innovations into central Europe between 40,000-45,000 years ago. Professor Nick Conard, Researcher at Tuebingen University

It is believed by some experts that these instruments may have been used in recreation or for religious ritual, and that music may have been one of the factors which gave Homo sapiens an edge over Neanderthals – who went extinct around 30,000 years ago.

The findings are published in the Journal of Human Evolution.

Earliest music instruments found [BBC via Dean Wiseman]

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Comments (2)

  1. Klemen
    July 18, 2012 at 4:46 am

    This article isn’t exatly correct. The oldest instrument was found in cave Divje Babe in Slovenia. In this link (http://av.zrc-sazu.si/pdf/56/AV_56_Turk_et_al_CT.pdf) are posted results of computer tomography of the oldes suspected flute. Page 22, 2nd paragraph – dattation 46.ooo years BC.

    Here is also turist link: http://www.divje-babe.s


    • Caving News
      July 18, 2012 at 10:57 am

      Very interesting article. Thanks for the info.


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