The Oriental Institute, University of Chicago

This graffito from Megiddo, dated at around 3,000 B.C., is the earliest depiction of a stringed instrument. It demonstrates the birth of the lyre out of the idea of the harp. In this early instrument, similar to a harp, the arm, to which the strings are fastened, was an incurving continuation of the body. Later, in true lyres, the yoke, or horizontal crossbar, evolved into a separate element which spanned the two arms.