Flower World - Mundo Florido, vol. 2

Music Archaeology of the Americas - Arqueomusicología de las Américas

Origin and Meaning of the Hopewell Panpipe

Mark Howell

Relatively few pre-Columbian soundmakers have been found at sites in the eastern United States. One exception is the panpipe assigned to the Hopewell cultural horizon (200 BC – AD 400), with over ninety examples excavated thus far. The so-called Hopewell panpipe is a corrugated rectangular metal sleeve made to hold three-to-four tubes of organic material, with river cane being the most prevalent. Extant interior tubes show evidence of plugs inserted into respective distal ends, which would yield varying amounts of air mass per tube, and create the potential for different pitches when played as edge-tone instruments. There is no imagery of Hopewell panpipes being used as soundmakers, but there is no better explanation for their use. I theorize, in fact, that not only were they soundmakers, but that the sounds they made were offerings restricted to ceremony, which explains why they are only found with deposits of sacred objects. In this chapter I examine the constituent parts of the instrument along with the manner in which they were constructed, to better discern their origin and meaning for Hopewell peoples.

Son relativamente pocos los objetos sonoros precolombinos que se han encontrado en el este de los Estados Unidos de América. Una excepción son las flautas de Pan pertenecientes al horizonte cultural Hopewell (200 a.C. a 400 d.C.) de las que se hallaron hasta la fecha más de noventa ejemplares. La flauta de Pan Hopewell es una rectangular funda de metal corrugado que contiene, por lo general, tres o cuatro tubos interiores del mismo tamaño, hechos de materiales orgánicos, siendo la caña de río la más usada. Los tubos interiores que se han conservado, muestran evidencia de tapones que se insertaron probablemente en el extremo distal de los tubos para obtener sonidos de distintas alturas. No hay evidencia iconográfica que compruebe su uso como objetos sonoros; sin embargo, es la interpretación más razonable. Mi hipótesis es que no servían simplemente para producir sonidos, sino que estos sonidos representaban además ofrendas restringidas a contextos ceremoniales. Esto explicaría porque se hallaron solo en depósitos de objetos sagrados. En el presente artículo se examinan los elementos constituyentes de dichos artefactos junto con el proceso de su construcción para llegar a un mejor entendimiento de su origen y el significado que tenían entre los pueblos Hopewell.

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