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1 Simple musical instrument comprising a hollow tube, often of bone or wood, down which air can be blown; one or more holes in the side of the tube can be covered and uncovered with the fingers to alter the flow of air and thus produce a range of different sounds. When the holes are placed at proportioned intervals, a simple chromatic scale can be produced. Some of the earliest examples known include the hollowed femur of a cave bear with three holes, one in the posterior surface and two in the anterior, from an Upper Palaeolithic context in the Istállóskö Cave, Hungary. It provides a musical range A”', B”', B”', E”'. The basic design involving a hollowed bone provided with holes is represented throughout later prehistory by many examples from findspots scattered widely across Europe.

2 A small tube in which there is a fixed constriction such that when blown a shrill sound is produced. The earliest examples, perhaps decoy whistles, are from Upper Palaeolithic occupation sites in France and parts of central Europe. All are made from reindeer phalanges pierced on one surface.

Subjects: Archaeology.

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