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Mystery Solved
For more than a century, it was believed that the dulcimer had existed in antiquity—partly because of a relief discovered at Nineveh in 1850 by Sir Austen Henry Layard. In Layard’s drawing of the relief (above) and in the photo (above), the supposed dulcimer player is the third figure from the right. A large crack in the soft limestone, partially obscuring the horizontal instrument, widened during transportation to the British Museum in London. When the British historian George Rawlinson published an illustration of the instrument (below) in the 1870s, it was depicted as a sort of dulcimer. The crack on the relief was then filled in, and the stone slab restored to show an instrument similar to a modern dulcimer, …

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