Archaeologist Carole Fritz on the conch shell now believed to be the oldest wind instrument instrument in the world. New research estimates it dates back nearly 18,000 years.

April 1, 2021
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“Hearing it for the first time…. it was a big emotion.”

The shell had sat in a French museum for decades, with its song silenced and unknown.

  • Upon a recent second look, researchers noticed unique holes inconsistent with natural wear and concluded a craftsman had turned it into a musical instrument thousands of years ago.
  • Archaeologists first unearthed the 12-inch conch in a cave in Southwestern France in the 1930’s. They originally thought it to be a ceremonial drinking cup.
  • It is about 12,000 years older than what’s believed to be 2nd oldest musical instrument, a conch found in Syria.

Why It Matters: Researchers are hopeful the conch may unlock long lost secrets and lessons about life in ancient times. The co-author the study believes it may not be an instrument at all, but a unique communication tool! You can hear what it sounds like HERE.

by Jenna Lee,

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