DIVJE BABE FLUTE
NOW AS KITE WINDER
THE ARTIFACT AS DISPLAYED IN THE MUSEUM
CREATED Late Pleistocene (43100 ± 700 BP)
DISCOVERED 1995 near Cerkno, Slovenia
PRESENT LOCATION National Museum of Slovenia, Ljubljana
The Divje Babe flute is a cave bear femur pierced by spaced holes that was found in 1995 at the Divje Babe archeological park located near Cerkno in northwestern Slovenia. It has been suggested that it was made by Neanderthals as a form of musical instrument, its hole spacing and alignment leading to its being labeled a “Neanderthal flute.” Slovenian archeologist Mitja Brodar, however, argues that it was made by Cro-Magnons as an element of Central European Aurignacian culture. Despite alternative hypotheses suggesting it was formed by animals, the artifact remains on prominent public display in the National Museum of Slovenia in Ljubljana as a Neanderthal flute. As such, it is possibly the world’s oldest known musical instrument.