The 18,000-year-old conch shell proves the rich spiritual life of the ancient people, the Old Stone Age.
18,000 years ago, in a cave in what is now France, someone left something precious: A conch shell. It is not simply an ordinary shell because the top part of the shell, which is in the hardest position, has been intentionally cut off, so that it can be breathed in.
In addition, the jagged outer shell is also smoothed, perhaps for easier handling and on it there are red fingerprints, blurred, similar to the color of a picture on the wall. a cave, just a few steps away.
The above snail shell was discovered in 1931 in a cave in the Pyrenees. But at the time, archaeologists had not found its true meaning: A purposely crafted musical instrument.
Recently, in Science Advances magazine, researchers from several universities and museums in France used CT scanners and other imaging technologies, proving that someone was in the age of the map. Old stone has very carefully modified the shell and turned it into the oldest musical instrument ever found.
Researchers even asked a musician to play with them and revealed the sounds that had not been heard for millennia.
The first clue that the shell was actually a tool was that the tip was broken. If you find a conch shell on the beach, you won’t be able to break it by hand, you have to hit it with rocks if you want to pass air through the compartments inside.
In CT scan # 2, we easily see a hole in the tip. In addition, the scientists also illustrated a yellow tube, which could be a hollow bird bone attached like a bellows.
Figures 9 and 10 to the right are another New Zealand conch musical instrument, with a bellows attached to the broken crest. French researchers predict that this 18,000-year-old case has the same accessory.
Around the broken mouth of the shell is a trace of sticky plastic or wax. According to the team, it could be the adhesive to stick the part he blew into the shell.
Another incidental evidence when researchers asked a musician to try playing the shell, the sound coming out sounded like a trumpet or trombone but was deeper. However, the jagged part where the musician was in contact with the musician’s lips hurt him, and the researchers determined that a bellows were needed to make playing the instrument easier.
“It was very unusual and it hurt his lips. He couldn’t continue playing because it was too painful. Why would an ancient man put in the effort to modify a shell and endure such pain without a bellows? ”Said one of the group members.
Regarding the date of the snail-shell instrument, since it was impossible to break it down for carbon determination, the scientists relied on a nearby cave, a few feet away from where the shell was found.
Since both the shell and a cave painting mentioned above were imprinted with many of the same translucent red fingerprints, they identified all belonging to a group of ancient people at the same time.
By analyzing the age of objects inside the cave such as pieces of coal and bones, the team concluded that the snail-shell musical instrument is around 18,000 years old.
The above findings contribute to help scientists to better understand the richness of the ancient stone civilizations and the spiritual life of ancient people who lived many millennia ago.
Archaeologist April Nowell, Victoria University, Australia, said: “They have music, art, textiles, ceramics, they are people with a really rich life.”