Isturitz Flutes

Southwestern France was once the center of musical instrument making! Let’s learn about the oldest instruments found there!

The Isturitz Flutes are Paleolithic flutes that Aurignacian Culture made from vulture wing bones about 30,000 years ago.

Isturitz Flutes and The Cave

Isturitz Cave is a cave and an archaeological site in south-western France. With Oxocelhaya and Erberua Caves, Isturitz Cave is one of the most important archaeological sites of prehistoric Europe. Archaeologists started excavations in the cave as early as 1874. Since then, these caves are sources of knowledge about humans from Neanderthals to Homo Sapiens.

Isturitz Cave, France

From the 20th century to 21st, many experts examined these caves and gained insight into the daily life of prehistoric humans. They discovered about 3,000 sculptures, etchings, bone tools, ornamental objects such as stone beads, and bone flutes. Also, they discovered cave paintings of various animals.

Isturitz Flutes

Amongst the items that experts discovered from the cave, there were fragments of more than twenty separate flutes. Isturitz Flutes range widely in date from the Aurignacian to the Magdalenian cultures (between c. 20,000 and 35,000 years ago). Experts attributed the first Isturitz bone flute to the Aurignacian culture, which would place it between 40,000 and 26,000 years ago.

Paleolithic Flute (Instrument)

Also, two of the complete flute are from the Gravettian levels. (c. 25,000 years ago). Their lengths were around 21 cm (8.2 inches), and their widths were around 1,4 cm (0.55 inch). Their narrow ends were suitable for the mouthpieces. Also, the gray shadings around the finger holes of these flutes indicate that early humans used them frequently. Experts manufactured the replicas of them and tested them acoustically.

In conclusion, Isturitz Cave is one of the most important archaeological sites that provided 37% of the paleolithic flutes that archaeologists discovered in Europe. Also, the Isturitz flutes are amongst the oldest musical instruments in the world.

See Also

Outbound Links

The Official Website of the Cave

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