David Lewis-Williams - Bull roarers
Type of Spiritual Experience
A description of the experience
The Mind in the Cave – David Lewis-Williams
Another type of sound was evidently made by ‘bull roarers’, flat pieces of bone, antler or wood that were attached to a cord and swung round and round to produce a powerful humming sound.
A particularly fine example, covered with geometric decorations and rubbed with red ochre, was found at La Roche de Birol in the Dordogne.
Such instruments were also used by the Southern African San to imitate the sound of bees swarming; bees were for them a significant source of supernatural potency.
We do not know what the Upper Paleolithic people believed about the sound made by ‘bull roarers’, but if they were used in subterranean chambers , the effect must have been awe inspiring.