Accepted paper:

Deer antler whistles in Northern Iberian peninsula

Authors:

Raquel Jimenez (Universidad de Valladolid)
Carlos García Benito (Unversidad de Zaragoza)

Paper short abstract:

In this paper we will try to clarify the use of whistle-like antler objects as sonorous-objects, confronting other theories through the constructions of replicas and the ethnographic comparison with nowadays Spanish goatherds’ horn flutes and whistles. We will also try to propose a function for these whistles considering the archaeological and cultural contexts and putting aside preconceived premises about Prehistory and sound. To conclude, we will discuss the importance of the whistles in protohistoric soundscapes taking into account the specific environmental conditions.

Paper long abstract:

The new finding of a 1st Century deer antler whistle-like object in the Celtiberian village of Los Bañales shows how widespread these artifacts were among the indigenous populations of northern Spain and Portugal, as these objects have appeared in Celtiberian settlements in the village of La Hoya in Alava, in the Roman village of Bilbinis in Zaragoza, and in Coninbriga in Coimbra, Portugal. A few examples of possible deer antler whistles have also been found in Iron Age settlements in Poland, the Check Republic, Germany and the Netherlands. Even if some of the whistles appear in Roman settlements of the 1st century B.C., it is more likely that they belonged to local populations settled in the newly built roman cities, as we don´t have examples of this kind of artifacts in Rome. The northern European examples present a poor state of preservation and are incomplete. Instead, Iberian whistles appear in important numbers and are in an excellent state, so that a better acoustic study and better replicas can be done. In this paper we will try to clarify their use as sonorous-objects, confronting other theories, through the constructions of replicas and the ethnographic comparison with nowadays Spanish goatherds' horn flutes and whistles. We will also try to propose a function for these whistles considering the archaeological and cultural contexts putting aside preconceived premises about Prehistory and sound. To conclude, we will discuss the importance of the whistles in protohistoric soundscapes taking into account the specific environmental conditions.

panel S37
Artefact to auditorium: aural agendas in the archaeology of prehistoric sound (partly supported by the AHRC ‘Beyond Text’ program)