The Oldest Known Musical Instruments Have Been Discovered

If you thought only The Flintstones were into music in the Stone age you have another thing coming. Our ancestors had their own musical instruments as Berlin researchers say. The oldest known musical instruments discovered so far date back as much as 43,000 years.

In a cave in Germany, researchers discovered the man’s earliest musical instrument. A flute that dates back as much as 43,000 years was confirmed by scientists with Tubingen University and Oxford University to be the oldest known musical instrument. They used high resolution dating to date the collagen found in the bone.

Professor Tom Higham with Oxford University explained: “High-resolution dating of this kind is essential for establishing a reliable chronology for testing ideas to help explain the expansion of modern humans into Europe”. 

According to Tom Higham, findings such as early musical instruments help scientists figure out “the processes that led to the wide range of cultural innovations, including the advent of figurative art and music”. The cave where this rare flute was found has “produced important examples of personal ornaments, figurative art, mythical imagery and musical instruments”.

Based on their findings, the flute was made from mammoth ivory and bird bones and might have belonged to the first modern humans to travel through Europe. As their data show, the musical instrument is also a lead into their research of the Aurignacian culture that seemed to have started where the flute was found, back in the Upper Paleolithic.

The discovery of the early musical instrument has also showed researchers their hypothesis is correct. “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” 45,000 years ago.

Researchers believe that the first modern humans made it into the Upper Danube region before the cold climatic phase hit the region. “Modern humans during the Aurignacian period were in central Europe at least 2,000 to 3,000 years before this climatic deterioration”, claims Higham. What they are trying to find out is “what effect this downturn might have had on the people in Europe at the time”.

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