Archaeologists Have Discovered An Ancient Musical Instrument In A Scottish Loch That Dates Back 2,500 Years

Along the banks of Loch Tay in Scotland, archaeologists have recovered the bridge of an ancient plucked string instrument from around 500 BC.

View over Loch Tay to Ben Lawers.
cristapper / Shutterstock

Along the banks of Loch Tay in Scotland, archaeologists have recovered the bridge of an ancient plucked string instrument from around 500 BC.

Archaeologists have recently discovered the remains of an ancient musical instrument around Loch Tay in Perthshire, Scotland, which was found to date back to the Iron Age 2,500 years ago.

As the Edinburgh Evening News has reported, archaeologists initially unearthed a piece of wood with what appeared to be notches on it from along the banks of the Scottish loch during excavations which were being performed underwater at Fearnan.

After analyzing the piece of wood, it is believed that this extraordinary object was once the bridge of an ancient musical instrument. Archaeologists are also of the opinion that the fragment of this instrument may be one of the very oldest musical devices that has ever been recovered so far in Western Europe.

According to the Courier, archaeologists suspect that the fragment found near the loch once belonged specifically to a plucked string instrument from around 500 BC. Because of the rarity of such a discovery, this ancient instrument is being hailed by cultural historian Dr. John Purser as “a find of major and international significance.”

The Scottish Crannog Centre, a museum in Kenmore, is so interested in learning more about the musical instrument found beside Loch Tay that they have invested £34,100 to investigate the wooden object, all thanks to funds which were raised through the National Lottery.

Lucy Casot of the Heritage Lottery Fund of Scotland (HLF) believes that investigations like these are crucial and absolutely necessary so that historians and archaeologists alike can learn more about the earliest communities of Scotland.

“Uncovering where, and how, our ancestors lived helps communities understand their own history and identity. Thanks to National Lottery players, HLF is able to support projects such as The Bridge That Connects Communities 2,500 Years Apart that produce tantalizing clues about the past.”

Not only will these funds help archaeologists to learn more about this instrument, but it will also hopefully unlock valuable secrets about the history of prehistoric music during the Iron Age, according to Mike Benson, who is the director of the Scottish Crannog Centre.

“We are delighted to have received this grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund. We’re really looking forward to working alongside groups and communities to explore and tell the story of the bridge.”

Before the bridge of the instrument was recovered, archaeologists were working beneath the waters of Loch Tay to study what had been left of the crannogs there, which are ancient wooden houses that were constructed during the Iron Age and which once stood upon stilts.

Interestingly, archaeologists believe that the 2,500-year-old fragment of the musical instrument which was recently discovered by Loch Tay in Scotland may be from the same era as another similar bridge which was recovered back in 2012 on the Isle of Sky inside of its High Pasture Cave.