This subject got me thinking about the evolution of the modern European horn and what examples could be considered the earliest hunting horn in archaeology. I was reminded of this early Chalcolithic artifact from Valencia de la Concepcion in a paper by link>Garcia SanJuan et al, 2013. I'll add some quick thoughts then move on.
|How different from a Medieval Olifant?! Photo: Miguel Ángel Blanco de la Rubia. (possibly 36-37 cm from interior or chord line?) (García Sanjuán et al., 2013)|
|Hunting Horn including Portuguese Royal Arms and Cross of Beja c. 1490 (48 cm) (British Museum Af1979,01.3156) FI-000833090|
|Savernake Horn, England c. 1100s (British Museum 1975,0401.1 )( FI-000833091) (58 cm along chord)|
Another interesting aspect raised by Garcia-Sanjuan et al, is that the distal end* (the acorn as they call it) might have been perforated near the tip, but not directly; or it could just be a broken area. But if it was perforated in this strange way, it might have been, as Juarez Martin suggested concerning a separate artifact, as to mimick the gland end of the main. (* or proximal end if you considerate a mouthpiece)
Another from La Molina Link>(Juarez Martin, 2010) is noted by the Garcia Sanjuan authors as having a similar protuberance at the distal end. Juarez Martin believed this to signify a gland, as in the male context, and while he says it is hollow, does not mention if the end has a hole at the tip. There are plenty of examples of horns without perforations from Scandinavia since these were drinking horns. Garcia Sanjuan hinted at this possibility, but only suggest a container for liquids.
Either way, it is an odd artifact without a clear purpose and I doubt the proximal end (using their orientation, this is the large end) was enclosed seeing that it would be nearly impossibly to hollow out with any tool known at the time. Therefore it must be a stylized drinking horn for special occasions or a hunting horn for someone with more money than time.
|Elephant Tusk of La Molina Artificial Cave. Jose Maria Juarez Sanjuan (2010)|
|Garcia Sanjuan (2013)|
The corno and similar horns, are probably quite literally curled up alpenhorns, which were at some shadowy time in the past carved from trees. In any case, I wrote all of this as an excuse to post this...
Cheers, everyone have a beer!
Footnote> You'll notice at 2:36 Lisa Stoll changes the mouthpiece to change key. This is my basic point with the Irish horns, if O Foghlu is correct.