Archaeomusicology (Ger. Musikarchäologie)
- Ellen Hickmann
The application of the methods of archaeology to the study of music. Setting out from the analysis of archaeological findings, however acquired, archaeomusicology reconstructs the music and musical life of early cultures and ethnic groups that can often be dated very far back in time (Buckley, 1989). It then tries to discover features or traces of that ancient musical culture still extant in the more recent musical life of the society living in the same geographical area.
Such archaeologists as Childe (1957) and D.L. Clarke (1968) set out, if not uniformly, from the premise that the analysis of findings, that is, archaeological finds in context, was more important than the recovery and interpretation of isolated finds. Their studies concentrated on problems rather than objects (Ziegert, 1980), attempting to focus on the questions about mankind and human culture behind the actual finds. Accordingly, ‘reconstruction of the historical development of human cultures [is based] primarily on the study of their surviving artefacts, buildings and biological materials’; consequently, it is ‘essential to derive as much information as possible from this material, using all the methods at our disposal. In the last resort, however, all the steps in archaeological fieldwork relate to a reconstruction of past life deriving from an interpretative approach that links the finds with their context’ (Maier, ...