Archaeologists uncovered the burnt fragment of what could be an ancient instrument at Skye’s High Pasture Cave last year and the artefact is now being investigated by Historic Scotland to see if it is the real thing, The Scotsman reported.
If the archaeologists are right, then the instrument would be at least 1,500 years old, possibly even dating back to the Late Bronze Age and Iron Age. It could also dramatically alter our existing knowledge about the history of music instruments among our ancestors on the continent.
The artefact resembles a bridge of an early stringed instrument and is thought to pre-date anything similar that has been found in Europe.
According to the news provider, the oldest string instrument in Europe is thought to be lyre harps, which were played by the Vikings in around 600AD, but the fact that this artefact was discovered at High Pasture Cave suggests that it is much older, as everything found there since digging began in 1972 is up to 2,000 years old.
“The archaeological excavations at High Pasture Cave in Skye have revealed an astounding site,” Rod McCullagh, a Historic Scotland archaeologist, told The Scotsman. “The work has recorded the remains of almost a thousand years of ceremony, ritual and feasting.”
It is currently believed that the only instruments made by Bronze Age humans were flutes, pipes and bronze instruments like trumpets.
One possibility of the finding is that it was left there by humans who inhabited the caves at a later period.
The news comes as Scotland marks the Year of Creative Scotland in 2012, which aims to highlight the country’s creativity on a world stage through a year-long programme of events, festivals, culture and heritage.