oa Quest - How our African ancestors made sound in the Stone Age : woer woers

Volume 15 Number 4
  • ISSN : 1729-830X



The Middle and Later Stone Age, which lasted from about 300 000 to 300 years ago in South Africa, was an important time for the African continent. During this period humans developed many diff erent strategies to produce a variety of stone tools. They used fi re as an engineering tool and to cook. As expert hunter-gatherers, they successfully inhabited many parts of Africa. But one thing that’s been missing from our understanding of this epoch is sound, noise or music. There’s been very little research on the role of sound production during the Stone Age. That’s very surprising since we know that the latter part of this period was an important one for the development of complex cognition, symbolic expression and social dynamics among human ancestors. So it stands to reason that groups which were communicating in complex ways might also explore sound for expression.

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