After a discovery was made inside a cave in southern Germany, researchers identified what is believed to be the oldest-known musical instruments in the world.
Named the Geisenklösterle Flutes, researchers found fragments of the instruments which were made from bird bone and mammoth ivory—a discovery that suggests that musical tradition was firmly established in Europe well over 40,000 years ago.
The Geisenklösterle Cave in which the instruments were uncovered is thought to have been the occupation of Europe by modern humans—Homo sapiens. Researchers at the time managed to radio carbon date the flutes to estimate that they originate between 42,000 and 43,000 years old.
“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,” said Professor Nick Conard, the Tuebingen University researcher who was at the site.
He added: “Geissenkloesterle is one of several caves in the region that has produced important examples of personal ornaments, figurative art, mythical imagery and musical instruments.”
According to Tom Higham of Oxford University, this discovery suggests that modern humans were already in central Europe “when huge icebergs calved from ice sheets in the northern Atlantic and temperatures plummeted.”
An example of the uncovered instrument can be seen in the video, below.