The Hurrian Hymn was discovered in the 1950s on a clay tablet inscribed with Cuneiform text. It’s the oldest surviving melody and is over 3400 years old.

Listen to the oldest song in the world which was written 3,400 years ago

In the early 1950s, archaeologists unearthed several clay tablets from the 14th century B.C.E. Found, WFMU tells us, “in the ancient Syrian city of Ugarit,” these tablets “contained cuneiform signs in the Hurrian language,” which turned out to be the oldest known piece of music ever discovered, a 3,400-year-old cult hymn.

Anne Draffkorn Kilmer, professor of Assyriology at the University of California, produced the interpretation above in 1972. (She describes how she arrived at the musical notation—in some technical detail—in this interview.)

Since her initial publications in the 60s on the ancient Sumerian tablets and the musical theory found within, other scholars of the ancient world have published their own versions.

The piece writes Richard Fink in a 1988 Archeologia Musicalis article, confirms a theory that “the 7-note diatonic scale, as well as harmony, existed 3,400 years ago.”

This, Fink tells us, “flies in the face of most musicologist’s views that ancient harmony was virtually non-existent (or even impossible) and the scale only about as old as the Ancient Greeks.”

Kilmer’s colleague Richard Crocker claims that the discovery “revolutionized the whole concept of the origin of western music.” So, academic debates aside, what does the oldest song in the world sound like? Listen to a midi version below and hear it for yourself.

Doubtless, the midi keyboard was not the Sumerians instrument of choice, but it suffices to give us a sense of this strange composition, though the rhythm of the piece is only a guess.

Kilmer and Crocker published an audiobook on vinyl (now on CD) called Sounds From Silence in which they narrate information about ancient Near Eastern music, and, in an accompanying booklet, present photographs and translations of the tablets from which the song above comes.

They also give listeners an interpretation of the song, titled “A Hurrian Cult Song from Ancient Ugarit,” performed on a lyre, an instrument likely much closer to what the song’s first audiences heard.

Unfortunately, for that version, you’ll have to make a purchase, but you can hear a different lyre interpretation of the song by Michael Levy below, as transcribed by its original discoverer Dr. Richard Dumbrill.

Piece of a skull found in Greece ‘is the oldest human fossil outside Africa’

700,000 years old Skull discovered in Greek cave, completely shatters the Out of Africa theory

The “Petralona man”, or “Archanthropus of Petralona”, is a 700,000-year-old human skull discovered in 1959. Since then, scientists have been trying to trace this skull’s origin, a process that has caused considerable controversy.

The skull, indicating the oldest human “europeoid” (presenting European traits), was embedded in a cave’s wall in Petralona, near Chalkidiki in Northern Greece.

The cave, rich in stalactites and stalagmites, was accidentally located by a shepherd. Dr. Aris Poulianos, an expert anthropologist, member of UNESCO’s International Union of Anthropological and Ethnological Sciences and founder of the Anthropological Association of Greece, was assigned research on the cave and skull.

Before that, Dr. Poulianos was already known for his thesis on “The origin of the Greeks”. His thesis was based on craniological and anthropometrical studies of Modern Greek populations, which proved that modern Greeks are related to ancient Greeks and that they are not the descendants of Slavic nations.

After the extensive study on the 700,000-year-old skull, he concluded that the “Petralona man” was not connected to the species that came out of Africa. His arguments were mainly based on the skull’s almost perfect orthography, the shape of its dental arch, and the occipital bone construction.

According to the “Out of Africa” theory, “anatomically modern humans” known as “Homo sapiens” originated in Africa between 200,000 and 100,000 years ago before spreading to the rest of the world. This theory was related to the fact that most prehistoric fossils were found in Africa.

In 1964, two German researchers, anthropologist E. Breitinger and paleontologist O. Sickenberg, who was invited to Greece, suggested that the skull was actually 50,000 years old, thus rejecting Dr. Poulianos’ theory.

Moreover, Breitinger claimed that the skull belonged to the “first African out of Africa”. A few years later, in 1971, US Archaeology magazine confirmed Poulianos’ statement.

According to the scientific magazine, the existence of a cave dating back more than 700,000 years and human presence in almost every geological layer were ascertained.

Additionally, the magazine affirmed that human presence became evident from the discovery of Paleolithic tools of the same age and the most ancient traces of fire that was ever lit by human hand.

The research continued from 1975 to 1983, when the excavation stopped and findings remained inaccessible to study until 1997.

Today, 50 years after the discovery of the “Petralona man”, modern methods of absolute chronology confirm Dr. Poulianos’ theory.

Most academics believe that the skull belongs to an archaic hominid with strong European traits and characteristics of Homo erectus, Neanderthals and sapiens, but they distinguish it from all these species. This incredible discovery raises new questions on human evolution and certainly challenges the “Out of Africa” theory.

39000 Years Old Frozen Woolly Mammoth found in Siberia, goes on display in Tokyo

39000 Years Old Frozen Woolly Mammoth found in Siberia, goes on display in Tokyo

After 39,000 years, a baby wooly mammoth is making her public debut. The prehistoric creature, nicknamed Yuka, is being put on public display in Japan, after being shipped from her home in Siberia, Russia.

Yuka, a 39,000-year-old baby mammoth, was found with liquid blood in her veins, a positive sign for scientists wishing to study the animal’s DNA.

Yuka was found trapped in ice on the New Siberian Islands. Though parts of her body were exposed to the elements and predators, the young animal is thought to be the most well-preserved mammoth specimen known to science.

She has been carefully shipped in a large crate packed with dry ice to an exhibition hall in Yokohama, south of Tokyo.

Baby mammoth Yuka was discovered earlier this year in Siberia.

Visitors can stroll past the creature and see its orange-brown tufted hair and soft tissue, and imagine it wandering the icy planes thousands of years ago.

Yuka was first believed to be 10,000 years old, but subsequent tests showed the two-year-old mammoth was much older, dating to about 39,000 years, according to the Siberian Times.

Scientists were able to extract blood for testing, the first time the extinct creature’s blood has been harvested by scientists.

According to a May report by the Times, Russian and South Korean scientists are working on extracting the mammoth’s DNA to bring the species back to life.

Visitors to the Japanese museum can see Yuka on display with her trunk fully extended and her legs sprawled.

A worker looks at 39,000-year-old female woolly mammoth Yuka upon her arrival at the exhibition hall in Yokohama, Japan.

She is also covered in a layer of permafrost.

The majority of woolly mammoths died out some 10,000 years ago, though a small group of mammoths lived on Wrangel Island in the Arctic until around 1700 B.C.

Mammoth expert Norihisa Inuzuka ssays aid that Yuka allows scientists to “dig deeper into the reasons why species became extinct and apply the lessons learned to the human race, which might be facing its own dangers of extinction.”

Silver Roman dagger is restored to its former glory

Roman dagger uncovered by the teenage archaeologist on work experience is restored to former glory

A Roman knife, 2000 years old, that a teenage boy had discovered during his work has been spectacularly restored to its former glory.

The old weapon is believed to have used in a battle against the Germanic people in the 1st century by a soldier from the Roman army.

It was found in a burial ground in Haltern am See near Munster, north-west Germany by 19 years old Nico Calman last year.

An elaborate silver Roman dagger has been painstakingly restored to its original glory after it was unearthed by a teenager on work experience in Germany.

It was believed to be the most remarkable artefact of its kind to have been discovered – at a burial ground in Haltern am See, near Münster. 

It is so well preserved that red enamel and glass, as well as silver and brass, handles decorated with ornate patterns of foliage and leaves survived for 2,000 years.

The dagger is believed to have been used by a legionary fighting a Germanic tribe in the 1st century, according to The Times. 

An elaborate silver Roman dagger has been painstakingly restored to its original glory after it was unearthed by a teenager on work experience in Germany

Unearthed along with the fascinating decorated dagger were bronze and brass plates, the remnants of a leather belt and a lime-wood sheath and flaxen twine.       

The ornate dagger is set to be displayed in Haltern’s Roman history museum in 2022.

When the weapon was dug from the ground, it was completely encased in rust before being restored over the span of nine months to reveal its previous state

Michael Rind, director of archaeology at the local Westphalia-Lippe council, told The Times: ‘This combination of a completely preserved blade, sheath, and belt, together with the important information about precisely where they were found, is without parallel.’ 

Roman soldiers are said to have carried ornate daggers as a sign of prestige – and  Haltern was a large military camp established by troops, according to local media.

Despite archaeological excavations taking place in the German district for 200 years, this discovery is bound to shed new light into Roman activities east of the Rhine. 

It was thought that the camp had been abandoned following a severe defeat as up to 20,000 men were wiped out.

In the 1990s, a new burial ground not far from the site of the battle was discovered – with several graves were discovered, including 25 skeletons in a pottery furnace.

one of the oldest inhabited cities in the world

One of the World’s Oldest Cities is 8,000 Years Older Than the Pyramids

One of the World’s Oldest Cities is 8,000 Years Older Than the Pyramids
Aleppo, Syria

Within present-day Syria an ancient city has been built thousands of years before the first pyramid of Egypt was constructed.

The city of Aleppo is considered one of the oldest cities in the world with signs of habitation that date from the last ice age when the settlement began as a small populated area. 

Excavations at a site located no more than 15 miles from the center of the ancient city have yielded archeological evidence which clearly shows that the city, as well as its surrounding region, was inhabited for at least 13,000 years.

This sole fact makes the ancient city of Aleppo and its surrounding area one of the oldest continuously occupied cities on the surface of the planet.

Ancient to ancient civilizations, the settlements that would eventually give birth to Aleppo predates even the oldest of Egyptian pyramids. Its original name, like the name of many other ancient cities, remains an enigma since ancient texts originating from the founding of the ancient settlements have never been discovered.

Although its history dates back to a time when history was probably not even reported, the city was mentioned for the first time in clay cuneiform tablets that were crafted some 5000 years ago, which already mentioned the city as a commercial and military power.

This means that the city was already an important center in the region, something that tells us that long before 5,000 years ago, the city was popular among people in the area. Its more central parts were probably inhabited since the 6th millennium BC.

 Excavations at Tell as-Sawda and Tell al-Ansari, just south of the old city of Aleppo, show that the area was occupied by Amorites since at least the latter part of the 3rd millennium BC.

An image of the Hadad Temple Inside the Citadel of Aleppo.

This popularity may have been due to its geographical location, situated between the Mediterranean Sea and Mesopotamia–precisely at the end of the Silk Road, which passed all the way from central Asia to Mesopotamia.

In other words, the city’s prime location made sure it became one of the more important trading centers in that part of the world. Aleppo appears in the historical record as a prominent city much sooner than Damascus (the capital of present-day Syria), which suggests that by the time Damascus became an important city, Aleppo was way ahead of them. In regards to Damascus, numerous scholars argue it is older than Aleppo, however, evidence of habitation at Damascus can be traced back to around 11,000 years.

This was proven by archaeological excavations at a site called Tell Ramad, not far from the center of the city. Analysis of the archaeological remains suggests habitation in the area can be placed at around 9,000 BC. That’s why it isn’t surprising to learn that there are ancient accounts that suggest how people in ancient times considered Aleppo as the center of the ancient world.

Despite its importance and age, the ancient city of Aleppo has not been studied much by archeologists, partially because the modern city was built on top of the ancient site. Experts estimate that the ancient city of Aleppo comprises an approximate area of around 160 hectares (400 acres; 1.6 km2). The historical record suggests that the ancient city was surrounded within a historic wall of 5 km (3 mi) that was last rebuilt by the Mamlukes.

However, since much of the ancient city has been destroyed, the wall as well has since nearly disappeared. Nonetheless, we know it had nine gates, out of which 5 are–luckily–well preserved. The wall that surrounded the city was in turn circled by a broad, deep ditch, that offered extra protection from potential intruders.

In the Ebla tablets, the ancient city of Aleppo was referred to as Ha-lam. The first record of Aleppo most likely originates from the third millennium BC if the identification of Aleppo as Armi, a city-state closely related to Ebla is correct.

A side view of the citadel of Aleppo.

One of its most famous parts–although not as ancient as the city itself–is the so-called Citadel of Aleppo, a large medieval fortified palace located at the very center of the ancient city. In fact, this structure is considered one of the oldest and largest castles constructed on the surface of the planet.

Evidence of the citadel’s history can be traced back to the 3rd millennium BC. Although the city was conquered by many ancient civilizations, the majority of the citadel’s construction is attributed to the Ayyubid period.

The hill atop which the citadel was built is considered of great importance since it is where there the prophet Abraham is said to have milked his sheep. Researchers estimate that around 30% of the Ancient City of Aleppo has been destroyed in the recent military fights. The Egyptian Pyramids are thought to have arisen during the Third Dynasty reign of Pharaoh Djoser if the historical timeline set out by Egyptologists is correct.

The Pyramid of Djoser at Saqqara is widely acknowledged as the earliest colossal stone building in Egypt as well as the earliest large-scale cut stone construction. The pyramid was completed in no more than 19 years, during which the builders not only erected the pyramid, its temples, and surrounding limestone wall but a massive subterranean world with a length of around 5.7 kilometers.

It is noteworthy to mention that by the time Aleppo was established as a settlement, a mysterious group of people built not far from Syria what is considered the oldest temple on the surface of the planet. Predating Stonehenge by around 6,000 years, Göbekli Tepe is located in southeastern Turkey and is thought to have been erected by hunter-gatherers between 13,000 and 11,000 years ago.

The massive pillars at Göbekli Tepe

To date, archeologists have discovered more than 200 pillars at Göbekli Tepe, all of which have been built inside 20 circles. Some of the pillars at Göbekli Tepe weigh more than 10 tons. This fact has led many experts to question whether hunter-gatherers were sophisticated enough to construct an ancient temple complex the site of Göbekli Tepe at the end of the Last Glacial period on Earth. Göbekli Tepe is located around 13 kilometers from the city of Şanlıurfa. 

Şanlıurfa, in turn, is located around 230 kilometers from the ancient city of Aleppo. Given the relatively close proximity of the two sites, it suggests that between 13,000 and 11,000 years ago, the wider region was inhabited by people that were much more sophisticated than hunter-gatherers or nomads. All of the above would suggest that some 8,000 years before the Pyramid of Saqqara, people in the region of Aleppo had the ability to erect standing stone structures.