Ancient Irish music history found in South India

An archaeologist studying musical horns from iron-age Ireland has found that musical traditions, thought to be long dead, are alive and well in south India. 

The realisation that modern Indian horns are almost identical to many iron-age European artefacts reveals a rich cultural link between the two regions 2,000 years ago. 


The findings, according to the researcher, help show that Europe and India had a lively cultural exchange with musicians from the different cultures sharing independently developed technology and musical styles. The research has been published in the Journal of Indian Ocean Archaeology.

The musical traditions of south India, with horns such as the kompu, are a great insight into musical cultures in Europe's prehistory. And, because Indian instruments are usually recycled and not laid down as offerings, the artefacts in Europe are also an important insight into the soundscapes of India's past, says PhD student Billy O Foghlu.

One example of the musical mixing is depicted in a carving of a celebration in Sanchi, dating from c300 BC, which shows a group of musicians taking part, playing two European carnyces, a horn with an animal's head, said a media release from the Australian National University.

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