Neanderthal, Flute, Homo Sapiens 


by Rick Buckley

Sometime between 42,000 and 43,000 years ago, within the Aurignacian culture our early European ancestors of the Upper Paleolithic period held social gatherings centered on the activity of playing tiny musical flutes, fashioned from bird bones and mammoth ivory. This is the first tangible evidence of modern man’s music making, which was unearthed in 2006 along with other personal ornaments, figurative art, and mythical imagery within the Geißenklösterle Caves of the Swabian Jura of Southern Germany. Thus a new theory regarding a possible cause for the demise of the Neanderthal species, and the future survival of Homo sapiens, was open to conjecture. These early examples of musical instruments are said to be a major factor in the survival of the latter, and separate early Homo sapiens from the contemporary Neanderthals. Through these social gatherings of music playing, in which the Neanderthals apparently did not partake, Homo sapiens were able to strengthen and expand its social group, thus guaranteeing its future survival as a species.
There’s a curious circularity to this finding, wherein the birdsong listened to by our early ancestors was thus mimicked through the bones of those birds from which the human species first took its musical inspiration. Through this evidence of intentional emotional manipulation, we bear witness to early modern man’s 

poetic expression, and self-reflecting his loss, a testimony to the development in the art and practice of lamentation. Some kind of mythic symbolism could be constructed here, wherein the bird is sacrificed in order to immortalize its birdsong through the instrument of the bone flute.
Within the manufacture of these tiny bone flutes lay the roots and a long historical tradition in human Endeavour of the precision manufacturing of musical instruments, from the brass instruments of antiquity, through the violins of Stradivari to Ted McCarty’s Gibson Les Paul guitars. From these recent archeological findings in the Swabian Caves of Southern Germany, we grasp how, from the early beginnings of modern man’s existence, we as a species have been compelled to construct instrumental devices, which enable us to connect with, reflect upon and release the flow of emotions bottled up within the human psyche.
Mole Jazz centred