Scientists have identified a shell that has been lying in a museum for decades as the world’s oldest marine instrument. The conch is approximately 18,000 years old, but is still capable of making tunes. It sounds like the sound of a siren coming from the past to hear the melody. This was reported by the news agency AP.
The conch was reportedly found in France in 1931, during excavations inside the prehistoric mural of the Pyrenees in the Marsaulus Cave. It is believed that the conch was used for drinking in various occasions. However, archaeologists at the University of Toulouse have recently re-examined it, saying that it was transformed into a musical instrument a few thousand years ago. They invited a French horn player to play the conch.
Archaeologist Carol Fritz said: “It simply came to our notice then.
Fritz feared that the shell could be damaged if played. But that did not happen at all.
The horns of the 12-inch-long conch shell emit clear C, C sharp and D notes.
Researchers say the shell is approximately 18,000 years old. A report on their findings was published last Wednesday in the science journal Science Advances.
Researchers from the Natural History Museum in Toulouse recently determined the age of the shell. They noticed that the conch had some kind of strange hole in it. Even some parts of its mouth have been broken and a large hole has been made through which it is possible to blow. Tosello said that later microscopic examination showed that the part of the mouth was not broken at all, the shell was made in such a way that the part of the mouth could be opened.
Inserting a small medical camera inside the shell, the scientists found that there was another hole in the inside of the shell. The presence of red pigment was found on the face of the conch. Its resemblance to the decorative pattern painted on the walls of the Marsaulus Cave has been found.
Another archaeologist, Gilles Tosello, said that the use of conch shells in music as well as in various ceremonies is common all over the world, including India, Peru, Japan and ancient Greece. Found in the Marsaulus Cave, it is the oldest shell found in the world. Earlier, a 6,000-year-old shell was found in Syria.
Margaret Conkey, an archaeologist at the University of California, said it was the best quality, real archeology. This discovery reminds us that the life of the people of that time was not limited to stone tools and big games. It was much richer and more complex than that.
Scientists will make a 3D replica of the conch. Measure the circumference of its horn note. Toussaint said he wanted to hear its melody in the cave where the shell was discovered one day.