Geissenklösterle Flutes

About 42000 years ago, a man thought that he could create a musical instrument from a swan bone. Meet the oldest flute!

Geissenklösterle flutes are Paleolithic flutes that Aurignacian Culture made from swan bone.

Previously, scholars thought that Hohle Fels flute was the oldest musical instrument in the world. But, in 2012, a carbon dating examination revealed that they are at least 42,000 years old.

Geissenklösterle Flutes and The Cave

Geissenklösterle (or Geißenklösterle) is a cave and an archaeological site in the Swabian Jura in southern Germany. Archaeologists explored the cave in 1963. It is one of the caves where Aurignacian culture left traces of early prehistoric artwork. Similarly, caves nearby including Vogelherd, Brillenhöhle, Hohle Fels and Hohlenstein-Stadel feature similar artwork. Also, these caves yielded the first expression of art in human history.

Geissenklösterle Cave, Germany

Excavations in the site started in 1973. There are six levels of sediments belonging to the Aurignacian and they date to between 43,000 and 30,000 years ago. Among the items that archeologists found were stone tools and artifacts of bird bone and mammoth ivory.

As a result of its historical importance, in 2017, Geissenklösterle became part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site Caves and Ice Age Art in the Swabian Jura.

Geissenklösterle Flutes

One of the flutes was made from a radius bone of a swan by early humans. There was no swan remains in the cave. So it means that they didn’t manufacture in the cave. Instead they made them outside and brought them in. It is around 126.5 mm long.

Paleolithic Flute (Instrument)

Later, scholars experimented in playing with replications of the Geissenklösterle flutes. As a result, they gained valuable insight during these experiments. They used flint tools to remove the joint ends and to cut the holes. The replicas have a length of 150mm. They could blow them from the end without any mouthpiece.

In conclusion, we can say that the Geissenklösterle flutes are among the oldest flutes. If Neanderthal Flute is not a flute, it means that Geissenklösterle flutes are the oldest wind instruments in the world.

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