Druid Ritual Horns

This paleolithic conch horn had a red painted opening in the same pattern as shown on the wall in the cave (Marsoulas) where it was found.  This painting has been interpreted as representing a bison with its eye far to the left. The shell opening even has a hole to represent that eye. Red is the color of the life powers. Consequently, the sound which this horn make was probably meant to represent the sound of a bellowing bison.
The two major modifications made to the shell were to  put a blow hole in the tip and to trim the opening. The reshaping of the opening was found not to have any affect on the sound quality so it must have been done to make it more bison-like in shape.
The dotted bison in context as painted in a museum reconstruction of the Marsoulas Cave . Photo by  Ralph Frenken 2019 and from Don's maps at: https://donsmaps.com/marsoulas.html

Magdalenian Conch Shell Horn from Marsoulas Cave (12,000 to 7,000 BCE)

(July 29, 2023) The Magdalenian culture was the paleolithic hunter/gatherer/fisher culture which existed just prior to the arrival of the Akkadian speaking Neolithic farmers. Consequently, some of their technology and culture must have been absorbed by the Neolithic farmers who were new to the northern climate. Interestingly, a conch shell (non-dated) having a similar side angled blow hole at the shell's tip was found in Syria.

Their culture molded itself to a cold and dry climate dominated by associations with reindeer and the use of bone and ivory as implements. While the use of bone tools began in the preceding Solutrean epoch its quantity and sophistication increased. Bone instruments are quite varied including such things as: spear-points, harpoon-heads, borers, hooks and needles.

This conch seashell was found in one of their painted caves called the cave of Marsoulas. It had two holes. the one near the tip produces a deep resonant sound which blown like a trumpet. This sound could be interpreted as coming from any large animal.

The Magdalenian culture occupants of this site transformed this shell into a wind instrument. So far it is the only horn from the Paleolithic period  fashioned from a large shellso  far discovered. 

7,000 to 12,000 years ago


(Feb 10, 2021) First Record of the Sound Produced by the Oldest Upper Paleolithic Seashell Horn. Science Advances, Vol 7, Issue 7. Online at: https://www.science.org/doi/10.1126/sciadv.abe9510

The distribution of the Magdalenian paleolithic culture is shown by the lighter color. From Wikimedia Commons at: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Homo_Sapiens_in_Europe_-_magdalenian_distribution_map-fr.svg