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Prehistoric stringed instrument found on Isle of Skye

28 March 2012

Prehistoric stringed instrument found on Isle of Skye

Experts believe they have found remains of the oldest stringed instrument ever found in Western Europe, during excavations on the Isle of Skye.

Cabinet Secretary for Culture Fiona Hyslop has revealed a small wooden fragment which is believed to be the remains of the oldest stringed instrument ever found in Western Europe, dating to around 2,300 years ago. The fragment was found during excavations at High Pasture Cave on Skye. Ms Hyslop said of the find: 'This is an incredible find and it clearly demonstrates how our ancestors were using music and ritual in their lives. The evidence shows that Skye was a gathering place over generations and that it obviously had an important role to play in the celebration and ritual of life more than 2,000 years ago.

'A project like this brings so many organisations and individuals together. The site has revealed insights into the practises of people who continued to use the cave complex over a very long period.

'This find is exciting and shows the variety of expertise there is in archaeology. The skilled excavation team realised immediately that they had something special, the finds were then passed onto the laboratory and then specialists in musical traditions were able to support that initial realisation. All of it leading to today and us being able to unveil this replica of what the lyre would have looked like.'

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Last Updated: 10th May 2012

 

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