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New chronometric insights into ancient egyptian musical instruments held at the Musée du Louvre and the Musée des Beaux-arts de Lyon

Abstract : Very little is known about the manufacturing and use of ancient Egyptian instruments, and their discovery is very rare. An extensive radiocarbon (14C) dating program has been conducted on 25 ancient Egyptian musical instruments currently held at the Louvre Museum (musée du Louvre) and the Lyon Museum of Fine Arts (musée des Beaux-Arts de Lyon). This study includes cordophones (harps, lyres, lutes), membranophones (drums, tambourines), idiophones (clappers, crotales), as well as wind instruments (oboe) that have entered the museum collections during the 19th century or the first half of the 20th century; consequently, the original archaeological contexts of their discoveries are poorly understood. Approximately 50 14C dates enable drawing a general overview of the instruments manufacturing. A wide variety of wood material has been identified, representing both indigenous species and imported species. Results indicate that the native flora of Egypt was exclusively used until the Third Intermediate Period when the first imports could be identified. 14C results are not always consistent with relative dates previously thought, mainly based on stylistic criteria. They demonstrate these collections hold very well-preserved objects extending over 2500 years, from the Second Intermediate Period (ca. 1700 BCE) to the start of the Islamic Period (8th century CE). This project provides important results for the knowledge of ancient Egyptian musical instrument crafts.
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https://hal.archives-ouvertes.fr/hal-03218461
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Submitted on : Tuesday, June 1, 2021 - 10:19:50 AM
Last modification on : Thursday, June 17, 2021 - 3:10:58 AM

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Anita Quiles, Sibylle Emerit, Victoria Asensi-Amorós, Lucile Beck, Ingrid I. Caffy, et al.. New chronometric insights into ancient egyptian musical instruments held at the Musée du Louvre and the Musée des Beaux-arts de Lyon. Radiocarbon, University of Arizona, 2021, 63 (2), pp.545-574. ⟨10.1017/RDC.2020.135⟩. ⟨hal-03218461⟩

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