The Archaeology of Sound, Acoustics & Music: Studies in Honour of Cajsa S. Lund

Publications of the ICTM Study Group on Music Archaeology, Vol. 3

Ceramic Aachen Horns: Sounding Witnesses of Pilgrim’s Travels in the Middle Ages and the Early Modern Period in Europe

Annemies Tamboer

Cajsa S. Lund developed the concept of Probability Groups as an aid when making an inventory of archaeological finds, including finds possibly used as musical instruments or sound tools.
She distinguishes five grades of probability, ranging from artefacts that unquestionably can be interpreted as being made to function as a sound tool to objects with the lowest degree of probability of being made with the intention to produce sound. Lund devoted several articles to this last group, Probability Group 5.

In this article a specific type of friction drum, the rommelpot from the Netherlands, is explored in the light of Lund’s Probability Groups. The rommelpot is a pot provided with a head of an animal bladder with a stick tied inside of it. Whereas the pot, the ceramic part of the instrument, can survive a stay in the ground, either complete, broken or fragmentary, the crucial sounding parts, the head and the stick that is needed to make the head vibrate, will both decay.
This article tries to determine those characteristics of the rommelpot that can assist in establishing whether an excavated pot once was used as a rommelpot and can be classified into one of the Probability Groups, by means of studying archaeological pot types, iconography, written sources, and, to start with, Lund’s Probability Groups.

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