BY SUZANNE DAVIS, Curator for Conservation, Kelsey Museum of Archaeology
This month’s ugly object, a flute, is in honor of my mother, who is a lifelong flute player. May is her birthday month, and she has been playing the flute (and piccolo) for approximately sixty years this month.
Flutes are some of the very earliest musical instruments, and the Kelsey has several. This one is made of bone and it would have been played by blowing into the end. It was discovered in 1929 in a temple at Karanis, Egypt.
It is obviously not fancy, but it’s nice to think about people enjoying the music it made so long ago. You can see it on the first floor of the Kelsey Museum, in the case devoted to University of Michigan excavations (see the map below). It can be found in the bottom drawer of that case. If flutes are your thing, you can see another one in the Karanis House area (Graeco-Roman Egypt Gallery) by exploring the drawers.