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Stone Lithophones!

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  • Stone Lithophones!

    I hope you all find this as interesting as I do! We are all familiar with the class of artifacts known as pestles, in particular roller pestles. We are less familiar with stone lithophones, which are stone musical instruments, used by many cultures the world over. I will include a video of such instruments from Vietnam, at the bottom of this thread.

    Until very recently, stone lithophones were not known, or rather, not recognized, among our prehistoric Native American cultures. At least that I am aware of. Recently, a friend of mine from Martha's Vineyard, archaeologist Duncan Caldwell, identified several roller pestles from New England as instead being lithophones.

    Here is Duncan's webpage, in case you would like to see some of the fascinating research he has been involved in around the world:

    http://www.duncancaldwell.com/Site/Duncan_Caldwell.html


    In 2013, Duncan published a study, identifying certain New England pestles as instead being possible lithophones. Please note that his article describes how one can determine which is which via a physical examination. I was able to view Duncan's study here, and I hope you can as well:

    https://www.researchgate.net/publica...al_Lithophones


    You will also find a PDF link for Caldwell's article at the above link.

    Recently, archaeologist Marilyn Martoran, of Colorado, was directly inspired by Duncan Caldwell's earlier research to identify what she believed were stone lithophones in Colorado. You can read, or listen to, an interview of herself and Caldwell at this link:

    https://www.npr.org/2018/09/16/64718...al-instruments


    And you can hear some of the tones produced by the proposed Colorado lithophones at this link:

    https://www.cpr.org/news/story/are-t...you-believe-it


    And for those interested, and in the area, Ms. Martoran will be presenting a remote talk on her lithophone research at the upcoming Spring meeting of the New England Antiquities Research Association(NEARA), along with other presentations of probable interest to our New England members:

    http://www.neara.org/PDFs/wightman2019.pdf

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    Last edited by CMD; 04-10-2019, 10:16 AM.
    Rhode Island

  • #2
    A stone lithophone setup from Vietnam:

    Rhode Island

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    • Tam
      Tam commented
      Editing a comment
      Fantastic

    • clovisoid
      clovisoid commented
      Editing a comment
      That is really cool. I am constantly amazed at how much talent some people have, that girl playing the stones is great.

  • #3
    Of Course ! They were grinding out music ! And add drums ! We learn more every day ! Thanks , I enjoyed the music !

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    • #4
      Thanks Charlie, I really enjoyed playing the Lithophones to hear the different tones. Number three was my favorite. I was surprised that number four was very dull (I wouldn't have guessed that from the shape)
      Michigan Yooper
      If You Don’t Stand for Something, You’ll Fall for Anything

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      • Ron Kelley
        Ron Kelley commented
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        BTW I just loved the Vietnam Lithophone video. Way Cool.

    • #5
      I have a 17.5 inch neolithic saharan stone that could be a lithophone. I'm not sure but it does produce a beautiful low tone.

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      Michigan Yooper
      If You Don’t Stand for Something, You’ll Fall for Anything

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      • CMD
        CMD commented
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        Nice by any name!!

    • #6
      Never knew or have seen any of this . Thanks for a glimpse into another world .

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      • #7
        Cool post .very interesting Charlie

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        • #8
          Jammin! So much we don't know
          Searching the fields of Northwest Indiana and Southwestern Michigan

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          • #9
            Very cool.
            "The education of a man is never completed until he dies." Robert E. Lee

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            • #10
              Got to say thank for these kinds of posts and for sharing your knowledge.

              I had heard of foot drums but not stone ones. Really amazing.

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              • #11
                CMD, good post. I don't doubt that people enjoyed and noticed the availability and variety of percussion instruments.

                I've posted these before, but this is a cache of gorgets/pectorals from Venezuela that I dug many years ago. (So long ago that I just realized how young my hands look compared to now in those photos...)

                German archaeologists named these Klangplatten which is the name for the little plates in a xylophone. They believed that some of them were musical. They very well could be.

                The picture that I'll insert here is how they were stacked when I dug them up, you can see a change in patina on the larger one that was on the bottom. (A bit like when you take an old picture frame off the wall and can see a difference in the original paint that was protected and the paint that was exposed.)

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                • CMD
                  CMD commented
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                  Wow, that is super thin! Thanks for sharing.

              • #12
                Drumming is a rythem born with us. The first sounds we hear is the beat of mothers beating heart while still in the womb.
                TN formerly CT Visit our store http://stores.arrowheads.com/store.p...m-Trading-Post

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