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After returning from the hunt, the primitive man in the ice age played the flute for pleasure

Archaeologists have discovered one of the oldest musical instruments in the world in a cave in Germany: a 35-year-old ivory flute

A mammoth's tusk and the ancient flute (below). A technical masterpiece

He was known until now more for his hunting skills, but it seems that the early Ice Age man was also an avid music lover. German archaeologists announced last week that they had discovered one of the oldest musical instruments in the world - a 35-year-old ivory flute, carved from the animal that symbolizes the Ice Age - the hairy mammoth, which has disappeared from the world.

The flute was discovered in a cave in the Swabian Mountains in southwestern Germany and its 31 parts were reassembled. The archaeological discovery raises the hypothesis that the early man in the Ice Age, who wandered throughout Europe in the prehistoric period, had a developed aesthetic sensitivity and that he discovered music much earlier than previously thought.

"Ivory is the most beautiful material that was available in those days," explained Nicholas Cunard, an archaeologist from the University of Tübingen in an interview with the Frankfurter Allgemeine newspaper. "Therefore, it is clear that they attached great importance to music." Two other flutes from the same period, made of bird bones, were discovered at the same site a decade ago. However, the quality of the recently discovered flute is unique. "It's like comparing a 'Rolls-Royce' to a 'Hyundai'. The flute is a technical masterpiece. Another tool like this from the Paleolithic period has never been found," says Konard.

Much more complicated to build

A flute of pure ivory than hollow bird bones. Whoever built the ancient flute cut the tooth into two parts and glued them together, apparently, with the help of white wood resin. The identity of the owner of the flute still remains a mystery; The scientists also do not yet know if the flute was used for religious ceremonies or for the pleasure of producing music.

According to research, 35 thousand years ago - the time when the flute was created - the Neanderthal man and the first modern man lived side by side in Europe. Important archaeological discoveries have been found in the Swabian Mountains in recent years. Archaeologists believe that people used to camp in this area during the winter and spring seasons and that the residents of the area were skilled craftsmen. Ivory figurines, jewelry and other musical instruments were found in the mountains. The place, known as the Hach Valley, is near the city of Stuttgart and other caves were found there. The researchers speculate that the caves were used for thousands of years, and bones of moose and bears were also found in them.

Archaeologist Friedrich Seeberger renovated the flute, which will be displayed to visitors at a museum in Stuttgart. However, some parts of the ancient flute were not found. Seeberger, who wanted to test the musical ability of the flute, built a model of it out of wood. Preliminary findings reveal that the ancient flute was an advanced musical instrument. According to Siberger, "the sound is definitely harmonious".

Seeberger says that he has no doubt that the flute was indeed used for playing 35 thousand years ago. However, Seeberger admits that it is not easy to play the flute because it only has three holes. According to him, "flutes made of small bones are much more comfortable to play".

Seeberger plans to build a more accurate model of the flute soon; These days he is looking for the right material from which to build the model: ivory from a mammoth, of course.

For news in the Guardian

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