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19 April 2009
Neolithic flute found in Mongolia

Traditional Chinese musical instruments are believed to have originated from the reign of Huangdi, or the Yellow Emperor, some two thousand years ago. But a recent discovery by the Chifeng Cultural Academy in Inner Mongolia suggests that Chinese musical instruments could be 3-thousand years older than previously calculated.
     Archeologists from the Chifeng Cultural Academy have scrutinized a flute made of bones, which was unearthed at the Xinglongwa Site in Inner Mongolian in 1986. The ancient flute has long been kept at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences in Beijing. It wasn't until recently that the flute was shown to the public.
     The ancient flute was made from the bones of bustard, a kind of bird usually seen in Northeast China. The tube is 18 centimeters long, with finger holes still evident. But its main structure has partially eroded. Experts have restored the piece and professional musicians have been invited to play the flute.
     The Xinglongwa Site, where the ancient flute was unearthed, is the birthplace of the Xinglongwa Culture, a Neolithic culture in Northeast China found mainly around the border of Inner Mongolia and Liaoning Province. It is the earliest archeological culture in China to feature jade artifacts and to depict dragons. Apart from the flute, archeologists have also discovered graves at the site. It is thought that the owner of the grave site was male, who was probably the owner of the flute.

Source: CCTV.com (16 April 2009)

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