What Was the First & Oldest Musical Instrument Made?

In this historical article, we'll explore what was the first and oldest musical instrument made and how Neanderthal flute changed the world

Updated on March 6, 2024
What Was the First & Oldest Musical Instrument Made?

Scientists have determined the oldest comprehended musical instruments in the world. The flutes of bird bones and mammoth ivory come from a cave in southern Germany containing the earliest proof of modern human habitation in Europe. In this historical article, we’ll explore what was the first and oldest musical instrument made and how Neanderthal flute changed the world.

Scientists used carbon dating to show the flutes were between 42,000 and 43,000 years old. The results were present in the Journal of Human Evolution. 

A team led by Professor Tom Higham of the University of Oxford has dated animal bones in the same soil layers as the flutes in the Geissenklösterle cave in the Swabian Jura in Germany.

Prof. The excavator on site was Nick Conard, a scientist at the University of Tübingen, who determined the previous record holder for the oldest tool in 2009. 

These results are consistent with our hypothesis a few years ago that the Danube was a key corridor for human movement and technological innovation into Central Europe 40,000 to 45,000 years ago. 

In This current Age, music is very simple to Download Music Mp3 and listen to your own.


The Geissenklösterle is one of the few caves in the region with significant examples of personal jewelry, figurative art, mythical paintings, and musical instruments.

According to experts, musical instruments could be under uses for recreational activities or religious rituals. 

Some students have claimed that music may have been a set of behaviors in our species that helped it gain an advantage over the Neanderthals – who died out in most of Europe 30,000 years ago.

Music may have played a role in sustaining more extensive social networks, which may have helped our species expand its range at the expense of the more conservative Neanderthals. 

Scientists say that dating evidence from Gissenklösterle indicates that modern humans appeared in the upper Danube region before a freezing climate period 39,000 to 40,000 years ago. 

Previously, scientists argued that modern humans first migrated across the Danube soon after this event. 

Modern humans [of this] period were at least 2,000 to 3,000 years before this climate deterioration in central Europe, when giant icebergs broke off the North Atlantic ice sheets and temperatures fell.

The question is what impact this crisis may have had on Europe then.

The flute’s age

Based on the age of the layer in which the flute was found, it is around 60,000-50,000 years old and is part of the Old Stone Age (the Palaeolithic). In the flute layer, the archaeologists also discovered the Neanderthals’ stone tools.

The age of the layer where the flute was found was recently calculated using electron spin resonance on bear teeth. The flute from Divje’s woman is 20,000 years older than other flutes. Anatomically modern humans made this flute.

Who constructed First Oldest and Musical Instrument?

The flute is singularly notable at this point, not only in Europe but also globally: a Neanderthal’s creation.

Neanderthals. Around 200,000 years ago, Homo sapiens neanderthalensis migrated to Europe from Asia, this expansion was later followed by a westward migration to the Middle East and the west coast of Asia. They were named after the site of Neanderthal in Germany.

This site was first documented as having fossil remains in 1856. They inhabited the glacial era and possessed physical attributes that facilitated their existence in harsh and cold environments. They were wiped out around 40,000 years ago, and the cause is a subject of many theories for Neanderthal flute.

How did the Neanderthals create the flute?

It’s constructed from the young cave bear’s thigh and has four openings, two completely preserved, and two partially.

Through practical experiments with replicas of the tools. Present in the cave, archaeologists explained how the Neanderthals made the holes in the flute. With a map-stone tool, a small hollow was under creation in the bone. Then a bone puncher was present to pierce the void.

The outcome was a void. Various studies and experiments demonstrated that it was impossible to attribute the holes to animal bites or random coincidence.

First & Oldest Musical Instrument Curiosities

The shape of the selected thighbone, its original length, a mouthpiece. Which was intentionally angled at the top. The results of CT scans facilitated an accurate and authentic reconstruction of the instrument. Which has a variety of sonic qualities in the musical progression.

Regarding musical execution, the instrument is more effective than the other reconstructed Palaeolithic musical instruments. It’s also ergonomically under a design for a right-handed musician.

You can appreciate the musical compositions expertly. On plats by the academic musician Ljuben Dimkaroski on the reconstruction of the Neanderthal flute. Also with the name of tidldibab as well at home. Purchase the CD entitled A Sound from the Past in the museum’s store.