Archaeologists announced the discovery of three ancient flutes made of red-crowned crane bones that may prove that Chinese have been playing music for 9,000 years. The flutes were excavated at an ancient tomb in the site of a Neolithic settlement in Henan Province.
They believe that the musical instruments, excavated earlier in October from Jiahu, site of a neolithic settlement, although rough and simple, prove that Chinese residents were playing music as far back as 9,000 years ago.
The bone flutes, pictured above, are thought to be the world’s earliest heptatonic musical instruments ever discovered. The simple flutes are carved with hair-thin patterns and approximately 20 cm long and 1.1cm wide. Their existence proves that distant Chinese ancestors could play music long before the written word was invented.
The site of this discovery, named Jiahu has been excavated over 8 times in the past thirty years and appears to be a treasure trove for important relics from the Neolithic Age (around 7,500 to 9,000 years ago). In fact, other similar instruments have been found at the site before.
“People who created Jiahu culture were not only hunters, fishermen and craftsmen, but also early farmers and brilliant artists,” said Zhang Juzhong, professor at the University of Science and Technology of China who oversaw the excavation work.
“Jiahu culture existed at the same time as civilization in Tigris and Euphrates was flourishing and served as a miniature of the development of East Asia at that time,” said Zhang.
It seems as if the Jiahu people a fun-loving bunch – while they weren’t playing music on their pipes, they were drinking alcohol. Amazingly, evidence of what is believed to be the world’s earliest liquor was also found here.
By Maea Lenei Buhre