Stone Musical Instruments? They Could Be The First Musical Instruments

We’ve talked about all the great uses of stones – from construction to industrial to energy generation. But have you ever thought about stones being used to create music?

It may sound weird, even unbelievable, but stones could well have been the earliest musical instruments man has ever used.

Long before man has invented brass musical instruments like the saxophones here at, our pre-historic ancestors have actually played music by striking on rocks. Stones were certainly not the ideal material for musical instruments. Compared to the tone produced by wood, the versatility and durability of metal, stones seem impractical. But the different special qualities of stones actually allowed man to turn it into musical instruments.

Archaeologists have discovered ringing rocks on different sites across the planet, usually close to rock paintings. In Africa, rock gongs have been found in different parts of Uganda, Nigeria, and Sudan. Meanwhile, in India, stones are continued to be used by certain minorities as substitute to drums.

Some of the earliest known tuned percussions have been found in Vietnam and China. Archaeologists have discovered sets of stones in Vietnam, in which each stone plays a different pitch. These tuned stones date back to over three thousand years, and some are even used in ceremonies. The use of stones for music continues in this Southeast Asian country. Some musicians use modern tuned lithophones, which are actually xylophones made of stone.

Similar tuned stones have also been unearthed in other parts of the world. In Central Africa, specifically in Togo, small flat stones producing different tunes are laid on the ground and struck to produce music. These are used in ritual performances that signal changes in the seasons.

In other parts of Asia, the stone chime bars are still used in ceremonial music. This tradition is believed to have originated in China where an ancient musical instrument called bian q’ing, a lithotope composed of sixteen to thirty two stone bars and suspended on a frame, can be found. The chimes are made of different stone types like marble, jade, and others. These chimes are arranged in L-shape and are played by striking with a hammer. This stone musical instrument is used in other cultures in the Far East such as in Japan, Korea and Vietnam.

The use of stones for music has reached the Western World during the 19th century. It was in 1785 when Peter Crosthwaite invented the very first lithophone, a xylophone-type instrument made of stones. But it was Joseph Richardson who actually popularized the stone musical instrument. Inspired by the work of Crosthwaite, he built a much larger instrument known as the Rock Harmonicon. He, along with his family, toured the world and played his stone musical instrument along with its ensemble of drums, steel bars and bells. They have even performed in front of Queen Victoria herself. Other performers followed suit. Some of the successful names include William Till, who eventually moved to the USA and performed with Till Family Rock Band.

Today, there are still musicians that accept the challenge of playing music on stones. It’s amazing how the stone tunes can actually blend well with other wind musical instruments that can be found at Truly these musical stones attest to the ingenuity of man!

Stones For Hunting? Yes, Our Ancestors Can!

Stones For Hunting? Yes, Our Ancestors Can!

Stones have many uses.

They are used as building and decorative elements, aggregates for concrete, components for industrial uses, lime burning, and ingredient for cement.

Most of us are aware of the conventional uses of stones.

A recent discovery proved a somewhat peculiar purpose for which stones were used.

Archeologists have unearthed artifacts that showed how our ancient ancestors used sharpened stones for hunting. That’s long before the human race has utilized modern hunting equipment like bows and arrows, shot guns and air rifles. Just visit Rifle Judge and you’ll be amazed at how far hunting technology have gone through the years.

Hunting during the Stone Age

Pre-historical evidence shows that humans started hunting large animals as early as 500,000 years ago. During this time, humans started to use stone spear tip. The earliest hunting tools that humans used were made of simple wooden sticks with sharpened end which turned them into spears.

Approximately 100,000 years ago, our ancestors learned how to make tools from indigenous materials. Stones, being the most widely available natural resource, were among the very first implements that humans learned to use. Very roughly chipped out or carved stones were attached into long sticks, turning them into more efficient hunting spears.

The sudden spurt in technology allowed the creation of more effective weapons and tools, such as throwing spears, axes and, later, the bow and arrow. From stones humans turned to better materials like ivory, bone, antler, and others.

Peculiar stone hunting tools

Aside from the more commonly used hunting tools, our ancestors also devised some peculiar stone tools for hunting. Spheroids that were discovered in South Africa are now believed to be used as projectile weapons for hunting. Previously, these artifacts were thought to be used as percussive tools for grinding, shaping and carving other materials. But recent studies suggest that their weights were able to produce optimal damage when thrown to their prey, rather than just being used for crafting other tools.

These early hunters were adept at disc throwing. They were able to hit their target with much precision even at a distance. It allowed the Stone Age hunters to hunt larger animals which they were unable to do so using their sticks and spears. But the precision of these spheroids never compared to the accuracy of modern air rifles. Many of which can be coupled with specialized scopes, like those you can find on this site: The spheroids served multiple uses in hunting. Aside from being a weapon, they were also very useful in butchering their games.

The Stone Age produced some of the most ingenious hunting tools that vital to the survival of our species. Truly this period of the human race can take pride in the sudden leap of knowledge. Turning stones into crude instruments is something unthinkable, especially for humans who have roamed the earth for a very long time as scavengers.

As we continue to uncover artifacts and learn about our history, we cannot help but admire how our species have developed tremendously through the years! It’s astonishing how early man has learned to use stone for a wide variety of purposes.