In 2008, archaeologists discovered fragments of flutes carved from vulture and mammoth bones at a Stone Age cave site in southern Germany called Hohle Fels. They were carved and played by Homo sapiens. These flutes are ancient, dating back 42,000 to 43,000 years, making them the oldest flutes in the world.
The oldest Homo sapiens flutes, that is. There is at least one flute made by a Neanderthal that is older. Found at a Neanderthal campsite at Divje Babe in northwestern Slovenia, the Neanderthal flute is estimated to be over 43,000 years old and perhaps as much as 80,000 years old.
The video above features Ljuben Dimkaroski, who plays trumpet for the Ljubljana Opera Orchestra, and who helped archaeologists figure out how to play the prehistoric flute. Don’t worry! He is playing a clay replica, not the original.