A wood-lined pit contained a group of six flutes made from yew wood, between 30 and 50 cm long, tapered at one end, but without any finger holes. It has been suggested that the "Divje Babe Flute", a cave bear femur dated to be approximately 43'500 years old, is the world's oldest musical instrument and was produced by Neanderthal.Claims that the femur is indeed a musical instrument are, however, contested by alternative theories including the suggestion that the femur may have been gnawed by carnivores to produce holes.
One pipe in the aulos pairs (double flutes) likely served as a drone or "keynote," while the other played melodic passages.Instruments, such as the seven holed flute and various types of stringed instruments have been recovered from the Indus valley civilization archaeological sites.Fragmentary documents from various periods of the country's history establish that the ancient Persians possessed an elaborate musical culture.The Sassanid period (AD 226-651), in particular, has left us ample evidence pointing to the existence of a lively musical life in Persia.Ravanahatha (ravanhatta, rawanhattha, ravanastron or ravana hasta veena) is a bowed fiddle popular in Western India.
It is believed to have originated among the Hela civilization of Sri Lanka in the time of King Ravana.
Prehistoric music thus technically includes all of the world's music that has existed before the advent of any currently extant historical sources concerning that music, for example, traditional Native American music of preliterate tribes and Australian Aboriginal music.
However, it is more common to refer to the "prehistoric" music of non-European continents – especially that which still survives – as folk, indigenous or traditional music.
The prehistoric age is considered to have ended with the development of writing, and with it, by definition, prehistoric music.
"Ancient music" is the name given to the music that followed.
The oldest surviving example of a complete musical composition, including musical notation, from anywhere in the world, is the Seikilos epitaph.