Archaeology Magazine Archive

A publication of the Archaeological Institute of America

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from the trenches
Magic Fluteball Volume 60 Number 4, July/August 2007
by Matthew Brunwasser

Dragan Dautovski, a professor of traditional music at St. Cyril and Methodius University in Skopje, Macedonia, is the only Neolithic flutist on the planet. Dautovski was the first musician to study a 6,000-year-old, spherical, ceramic flute found near the Macedonian city of Veles.

"It has a light and high-pitched tone," says Dautovski, who has been playing traditional Macedonian musical instruments for 30 years and spent a month mastering the ancient flute. "It sounds 6,000 years old."

The instrument was discovered with a cache of ritual objects, so it's likely the Neolithic musicians used it for religious purposes. "Playing this flute requires immense concentration," says Dautovski. "They needed to be spiritually prepared to play it."

© 2007 by the Archaeological Institute of America