Tuesday, 19 August 2008

Experimental archaeology and music

Archaeoacoustics is sometimes controversial, but as long as it is regarded as a speculative activity - like much archaeological interpretation of prehistoric remains - then it's a really interesting area to explore. Of course we don't know what prehistoric music sounded like, but we can be pretty sure that it existed, because of finds like ringing rocks and bone flutes.
clipped from www.archaeology.org
Elizabeth Blake suspended three flint blades from a small wooden frame. Holding her cell phone in one hand, she took a piece of antler in the other and gently struck each blade once. Over a bad transatlantic connection, our phone conversation had been difficult, but the tones from the four-inch-long blades came through—clear, sweet, and crystalline. They sounded like hand bells or struck goblets. The blades are replicas of 30,000-year-old artifacts from the sites of Isturitz in the French Pyrenees and Geißenklösterle in southwestern Germany.
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