What you will find around here are instruments that aren't so typical for Rome or Greek but rather 'primitive' or universal. Why then here ? Because they are found in Europa and they date from the time that Rome was still a great empire !

[Flutes] [birdcalls] [Chordflute] [bells]


The predecessor of the aulos and the pan-pipe is of course the flute. It is probably the oldest fabricated instrument in human history (cf Links) The could be made out of bone or woud. The form depended on the use of the material: you can clearly see from some flutes that it is a bone of an animal. It's clear that you one justed wanted to have some music. Real centra's in Antiquity aren't really present, there were just probably normal shepards who wanted to enjoy there sheep and oneself. In England, in Seaty Hill, one found a flute made out of the bone of a sheep. It has three holes and one of them is for the thumb. It dates from the 3rd/1st century BC.

Picture: L'art Des Celtes


The Romans also went hunting on animals and used little whistles to lure them. The picture is found in Velzen when one excavated a Roman bastion. It is made out of the end of the wingbone of an eagle. The owner is probably Acutus, because there is an inscription on the side of the whistle

Picture: Collectie A. Bosman, Heerlen

The picture that follows is not a bird call. It is rather a 'drill-flute' for the soldiers. It has a very sharp and hard sound. It is found back in a Roman bastion near Valkenburg.

Picture: Rijksdienst Oudheidkundig Bodemonderzoek


A very strang instrument is this chordflute found in Voorburg in a Roman castellum. It's length is about 30 cm and it has triangular mouthpiece. The most important feature is that it has three canals. The windows of the flute are not on the same level, so when one blowed on it, three different tones sounded. The holes for the fingers are equal pierced.

Picture: Collectie Stedelijk Museum, Zwolle


The oldest bels are digged up in Austria, dating from the stoneage and are pottery bells. Bells made out of bronze start from the Roman times and were used for the horses so that one could here a visitor arriving.

Picture: Collectie Fries Museum, Leeuwarden

The Romans used bells also for many other things: a soldier had to indicate that he was still awake, at the bathhouse a clock indicated the hour for the men or women and markets or other important public meetings announced with it.

Picture: Collectie Fries Museum, Leeuwarden

Some bells were also made out of sheet iron, like this one found in Heerlen

Picture: Thermenmuseum, Heerlen