Ancient Bird Bone Flutes Sound Like Birdsong

It’s always interesting to learn something about history, and researchers in Israel have certainly given us something to ponder. According to Scientific Reports, ancient bone flutes were able to be both identified and replicated.

It is thought that the flutes may have been constructed to mimic the sound of birds. Doing so would lure them in when hunting.

Photos: Wikimedia Commons / Laurent Davin

It is thought that the flutes were made by the Natufians, a people who lived thousands of years ago in the Levant region.

How Are They Made?

To make the flutes, the Natufians used small bones from the Eurasian teal and Eurasian coot birds. The smaller size and position of the finger holes and mouth allowed the flute to replicate the sounds of the sparrowhawk and Kestrel.

Photos: YouTube / Laurent Davin

Although the general thought is that the flutes were used for hunting, they may have been used for ceremonial purposes. It seems as if they were decorated and painted and worn around the neck.

The lead author of the study, Laurent Davin, spoke with Live Science, saying how moving it was to play the flute for the first time after it was re-created.

A Society On The Move

It is thought that the Natufians created these flutes during the time they were transitioning from a nomadic society to an agricultural society.

It is also exciting because the ability to make these flutes from small bones to imitate falcon sounds could indicate that they were making other instruments as well.

Another author of the study, Hamudi Khalaily, spoke with The Times of Israel, saying he would like to return to the Valley when the birds are migrating.

His thought is that if they can replicate the sound, the birds would come to them.

People, Pets & Planet

Help where it’s needed most at GreaterGood for free!