Ancient Throat Singer
Thanks for the piece on the mysterious Adena Pipe (“Worldwide,” BAR, May/June 2019). With flexed knees, open mouth, and bulging neck, it may represent a “throat singer” in a ceremonial dance. Relying on rhythm and tone rather than tune, throat singing is a “lost” form of music that can still be sampled among remaining ancient cultures and entertainers, such as the Tuvan throat singers. Or just think of the character Froggy, who did “throat talking” on the Spanky and Our Gang TV series. It is a rare ability that not everyone can accomplish; it would have drawn much honor and attention to the practitioner, making him fully worthy of a statue.
As an archaeologist and conservator of many years who had represented the Egyptian government concerning repatriation of looted and illegally exported objects, I should respond to your editorial (“Who Owns History?” BAR, May/June 2019). While the Met’s return of the coffin is laudable, not all museums, unfortunately, are willing to return artifacts of doubtful provenance.