What do we know about the mysterious ‘Lute’?
An enigmatic instrument has been unearthed in the ancient city of Antioch, Syria, archaeologists said on Wednesday.
In a news conference, the excavation team said the instrument is a “lute” which has been found “inside a well” and that the instrument dates back to the early second century BC.
The instrument, which has yet to be described, is one of a handful found in the area of Antioch dating from the early first century BC, according to the team.
The instrument is made of wood and is about six metres long, the team said.
Archaeologists believe the instrument, called a “drum” by archaeologists, was used by the ancient people of Antioch to produce music and drumming.
A second, smaller instrument was also discovered, according the team, which was led by a doctoral student from the University of Tartu in Estonia.
This new instrument, dating to the third century BC and found inside the well, may belong to an unknown composer who lived in the city, the archaeologists said.
The team, led by Dr Aliza Fadil, said the “dram” was discovered by archaeologists while digging for ancient artifacts near the well.
It is not known what music the drum was playing.
“This discovery brings us closer to our own discovery of a second instrument,” Fadill told AFP news agency.
‘It is like a drum’In a separate news conference on Wednesday, the Antioch Antiquities Department said it had found a second “drama” with a wooden box, which it said had belonged to a musician who lived at the site.
“The second drama is not related to a musical instrument, but it is like an instrument which is still being studied,” it said.
“This second drama was found near the ancient walls of the city of the early Second Century BC.”
Architectural excavations have revealed that a large number of buildings used for building, storage and public functions were built around the well in the second century AD.
Antioch is located in the Levant, which is considered one of the most ancient places on Earth.
The archaeologists said they hoped the discovery of the second instrument could shed light on the role of music in ancient Antioch.
“Antioch, an important city in the Old Testament and one of Christianity’s most ancient centres, is a centre for the development of Byzantine art,” the archaeologists told AFP.
“But the music that has survived the city is a mystery.”