The musical instrument is a large shell about 17-18 thousand years old. Researchers from France managed to extract three notes with its help.
The work was published in the journal Science Advances. The shell in question belongs to the species Charonia lampas (sea snail) and was discovered in Marsoulas Cave. The parking lot in it dates back to the earliest origins of the Madeleine culture in the Pyrenees.
The cave itself was discovered back in 1897, and the shell was found in 1931. Found and safely forgotten, describing it as an object that does not have traces of human interference, and designating it as a "cup of love." Scientists from the Universities of Sorbonne and Toulouse (France) took a fresh look at the old find and found that the shell is one of the most ancient musical instruments.
It is a large specimen of Charonia lampas originating from the North-East Atlantic. The size of the shell is 31 centimeters long and 18 centimeters wide, and the thickness in some parts reaches 0.8 centimeters. The tip of the shell is broken, forming an opening with a diameter of 3.5 centimeters.
Since this is the most durable part of it, scientists believe that the breakdown was not done by chance. In addition, there are traces of retouching and perforation on the shell. The shell also has imprints of a red pigment, the composition of which shows that hematite, a common iron mineral, was used in its manufacture.
With the help of computer simulations, scientists have found that the holes were created with the help of tools and are located in such a way that sounds can be extracted from them. This is what they did thanks to professional musicians: they managed to extract three notes from the shell - C, C sharp and D. In the future, the researchers plan to create an accurate and complete three-dimensional copy of the shell and play different notes on it.