8,500-year-old musical instrument found in northwestern Turkey

An 8,500-year-old bone musical instrument was discovered at an excavation site in the Bahçelievler district, in the northwest of Bilecik province. It is stated that the find may be the first known musical instrument found in Anatolia.

After a resident informed the Bilecik Archaeological Museum of some ceramic pieces he had seen in an empty field in the neighborhood, excavations began in the area with the support of the governor’s office and the rectorate of the Bilecik Şeyh Edebali University (BŞEÜ). Eleven human skeletons dating from 9,000 years ago and seeds such as small spelled, starch, barley, lentils and buckwheat were found during excavations.

A photo shows the musical instrument found in Bilecik, northwestern Turkey on July 12, 2021. (Photo İHA)

Additionally, archaeologists unearthed a bony object that resembles a flute or a whistle during their work. Associate Professor Erkan Fidan, a lecturer in the Archeology Department of BŞEÜ, said the instrument had two holes on one side and one on the other. Noting that these holes are less than 1cm in diameter, Fidan added, “After the restoration and analysis of the print on the object, we plan to start a project to play the instrument.

The speaker also noted that these types of instruments are common in the Turkish world. Turkish scholar Mahmud Kashgari named this wind instrument “tütek” in “The Diwan Lughat al-Turk”, the first comprehensive dictionary of Turkish languages.


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