Urgeschichte und Naturwissenschaftliche Archäologie

Frances Gill

Current research

I am interested in the point at which sound becomes music through a spectrum from historical convention to ontogeny. How and why music has been conceived in history, and deep history, is as much a philosophical question as an archaeo-musicological one, and these relations provide the narrative for the archaeological material culture under investigation. This material is a trio of musical-instrument artefacts from the Ach valley in the Swabian Jura, Germany. These three finds that came to attention only relatively recently, customarily referred to as flutes, are the first secure evidence of this type of melodic phenomenon in the history of humankind. My thesis examines these finds using theories of evolution and origins of music as a means to unravel both diachronically and synchronically their role in the story about music, and what can be understood more clearly about the temporal and spatial ecology of their original construction. The new data for analysis in my thesis are provided from results and analysis of a series of new contextual archaeological experiments in a search for new perspectives about music and its evolutionary status, and to find out more about these fascinating tools of melody.