Bob Fink, Neanderthal Flute

Bob Fink

Oldest Known Musical Instrument Plays Notes of Do, Re, Mi Scale

In 1996, excavation of a Neanderthal cave site in northwestern Slovenia uncovered, what appears to be, the section of a transverse flute made from the femur bone of a young bear. This bone fragment was perforated with four round holes whose shape and alignment strongly suggested that it was, indeed, the remnant of a Neanderthal wind instrument. The artifact is dated between 43,000 to 82,000 years old, making it the flute ever to be associated with Neanderthals and oldest musical instrument ever found.

Neanderthal Bone Flute

Bob Fink, author of The Origin of Music, has written an intriguing and controversial analysis of this archeological find, arguing that the unique positioning of holes in the flute clearly establish that it was tuned by design to a diatonic scale. He suggests that this discovery provides powerful practical evidence supporting the idea of natural or acoustical foundation to the evolution of the diatonic scale. FinkÕs interdisciplinary analysis reconstructs the bone fragment using probability and logical arguments to support his hypothesis and conclusions. Included in this fascinating study -- which first appeared on the Worldwide Web -- are extensive correspondences which the author had engaged in with respondents, questioners and critics of this scholarly work.

33 pages. Limited edition of 350 copies published and numbered by the author. BK-15

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