Missing Membranophones? Traditional Drumbeaters in Northern Eurasia and Possible Prehistoric Parallels in European Archaeological Collections
Raquel Jiménez Pasalodos and Riitta Rainio
Membranophones or drums have traditionally been thought to be among the earliest musical
instruments, even though traces of drumskins or wooden frames or bowls are missing from the
archaeological record. On the other hand, there are a large number of finds from the Palaeolithic and Mesolithic eras that have not yet been convincingly interpreted, and which could be connected with drumming. Starting from historical and ethnographic perspectives, this article presents a selection of prehistoric antler artefacts and discusses their suitability as drumbeaters.
Artefacts from European archaeological collections are examined and compared with antler
artefacts that the Sámi and Siberian shamans from the 11th–20th centuries AD used for beating