This artifact is at least 2000 years old, according to experts, it was produced from the antler of the ancient Vietnamese Eo culture, whose representatives lived near the Mekong River.
“This stringed instrument, or chordophone, is one of the earliest examples of this type of instrument in Southeast Asia,” said Fredeliza Campos, one of the study’s authors. “It bridges the gap between the region’s earliest known musical instruments, the lithophones, and more modern instruments. It was supposed to be about 35 cm long and have a hole at one end for a tuning peg. He also had what looked like a bar to support the string.”
Artifacts were found during excavations at the Go Chua archaeological site in the South Vietnamese province of Long An. In addition to the instrument, three identical bronze bells were found there, which, most likely, were part of some kind of burial.
“It is well established that music played an important role in the early cultures of this region. There is a striking resemblance between the artifacts we have studied and some of the stringed instruments still played by the Vietnamese. This suggests that traditional Vietnamese music originates in the prehistoric past,” the authors summarize.