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Ancient Celtic war horn found in Italy

Nov. 15, 2012 at 2:10 PM

TRENTO, Italy, Nov. 15 (UPI) -- An ancient Celtic artifact found some 60 years ago in the Italian Alps has finally been identified as a Celtic war horn, archaeologists say.

While it was long understood to be of Celtic origin, the use of the instrument, made of what appeared to be tubes and a bronze leaf, had remained a mystery.

A similar but much better preserved relic recently found in France allowed archaeologists to realize that the Italian artifact was, in fact, a horn, Italy's ANSA news agency reported Wednesday.

The horns, called carnyxes, were part of a psychological warfare technique, archaeologists said; mixed with the cries of attacking Celtic warriors and the rumbling sounds of their war carts, they helped create a sense of panic in their enemies.

Carnyxes were a type of bronze trumpet, held vertically, with a bell styled in the shape of an animal's head.

Other similar instruments have been discovered in France, Switzerland, Germany and Romania.

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