Music at the Dawn of Humanity

Arnd Adje Both

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


We cannot know when our European ancestors first engaged in musical activities. Whenever such activities involve using only the body or the voice, they leave no material trace. To create an archaeological record, music-making needed to shape the environment – perhaps by leaving traces where ringing stones in the form of stalagmites were hit or by the creation of sound tools and musical instruments as such. However, most prehistoric tools would not survive for long as the materials from which they were made, such as wood, bark, hollow plant stems, animal skin, sinews or twisted gut, decay all too quickly. Only where the most durable materials were involved we are able to detect more or less unequivocal evidence of musical activity.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationMusic and Sounds in Ancient Europe
Subtitle of host publicationContributions from the European Music Archaeology Project
EditorsStefano De Angeli, Arnd Adje Both, Stefan Hagel, Peter Holmes, Raquel Jiménez Pasalodos, Cajsa S. Lund
Place of PublicationRome
PublisherEuropean Music Archaeology Project
Number of pages6
ISBN (Print)9788890455537
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2018
Externally publishedYes
EventARCHÆOMUSICA: The Sounds and Music of Ancient Europe - Ex Cartiera, Rome, Italy
Duration: 11 Oct 201711 Dec 2017


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