Observations placeholder

David Lewis-Williams - Bull roarers

Identifier

003343

Type of Spiritual Experience

Background

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.

Red-on-Brown helmet bowl from the. Tucson Basin

 

The Brule Sioux of North America

The source of the experience

African tribal

Concepts, symbols and science items

Symbols

Bee
Red ochre

Science Items

Activities and commonsteps

Activities

Overloads

Listening to sound and music

Suppressions

Singing and humming

Commonsteps

Using bull roarers

References