Hear the world’s oldest instrument, the 50,000 calendar year outdated neanderthal flute

5 June 2023, 17:06 | Updated: 6 June 2023, 12:31

Oldest instrument – the Neanderthal Flute
Oldest instrument – the Neanderthal Flute.


It is carved from the bone of a cave bear – and it seems hauntingly gorgeous.

Archaeologists have uncovered a pre-historic instrument carved from cave bear bones, and it can nevertheless be played currently.

The Neanderthal Flute, discovered in the cave of Divje Babe in Slovenia, is considered to day again at least 50,000 years, generating it the oldest regarded musical instrument in the entire world.

It was found out by archaeologists in a cave in close proximity to the Idrijca River in 1995. Ivan Turk, who led the excavation, identified the ‘bone flute’ laid beside a fireplace as soon as used by Neanderthals.

Whilst only a fragment continues to be intact, the historic instrument can educate us a great deal about how Homo sapiens, or our now-extinct cousins Homo neanderthalensis, when designed audio.

Examine much more: This is the oldest melody in existence – and it’s totally enchanting

Neanderthal Bone Flute New music

In the video higher than, Slovenian musician Ljuben Dimkaroski plays Albinoni’s Adagio in G Minor on a clay reproduction of the flute, designed by the Slovenian Countrywide Museum. Inspite of relationship again thousands of millennia, the instrument does a remarkably very good occupation of actively playing new music that follows our contemporary use of the musical scale.

In 2015, Musicologist Bob Fink discussed that the flute has four finger holes with four various pitches. These pitches match 4 notes of the classic scale we use in tunes now, the diatonic scale.

Fink included that the notes of the flute “are inescapably diatonic and will audio like a near-ideal in shape in just ANY kind of normal diatonic scale, modern-day or antique.”

This 3D-picture of the flute (see underneath) offers a clearer photograph of its origins – a cave bear’s femur bone – and what continues to be of the instrument these days.

Long soon after phrase of this historic instrument experienced distribute, a review dismissed the artefact as nothing additional than a bone that had been chewed on by hyenas – a view some scientists nevertheless share. But following listening to the Albinoni played on it so tunefully, it’s alternatively really hard to think…

It is carved from the bone of a cave bear – and it appears hauntingly attractive.
oldest surviving composition

The Neanderthal Flute is carved from the bone of a Cave Bear
The Neanderthal Flute is carved from the bone of a Cave Bear.

The Archaeology Information Community

The flute’s without end-residence is now The Slovenia Countrywide Museum, where its formal description reads:

“The oldest flute in the world. It is pierced by two effectively-preserved and a few broken holes. The flute from Divje babe is the oldest of Palaeolithic flutes regarded to the present all over the earth and at the exact same time the very first reliably confirmed to be created by a Neanderthal.

“As far as we now know, Neanderthals have been the 1st between the closest human relations that manufactured musical devices.

“The flute from Divje babe testifies to the actuality that Neanderthals have been able of such an abstract and uniquely human activity as developing new music.”