Things have been so busy that we haven't made much progress these last 8 - 9 days with Assmann's, The Mind of Egypt: History and Meaning in the Time of the Pharaohs. We only began chapter 14 last night, the establishment of the New Kingdom with the wars of liberation against the Hyksos.
The inclusion in the Keynote Address at the conference of Assmann's structuralist paradigm reading lost historic information as messages, memories and traces worked out very well in terms of discussing the circulation of music in music's pre-history. The description of the Uluburun ship and its cargo ranging from the Baltic north to Nubia dramatized this circulation in a concrete, material illustration. Thinking only a moment about this, anyone understands that in these eras music was also circulating along those watery trade routes of rivers and seas and coasts.
People were the containers of music, and people circulated, whether musicians, slaves, sailors, soldiers, merchants, camel drivers, you name it. Music was contained in people and people always travel. The point of the presentation is that pre-recording technology, all music exists in the pre-historic realms. Musical notation is just that -- notation. It doesn't tell you how it sounded in its own milieu.
This seemed to impress the young 'uns quite a bit, never having thought in that way previously. One did raise her hand and inquire plaintively if Vaquero was telling them to study history and geography and anthropology* and archeology and literature, when they were ethnomusicologists and thus they studied music! When she finished her involved question, he answered, "Yes."
Nothing exists in a vacuum, including the past. That's another reason the past changes so much.
* Even now, often enthnomusicology is regarded as part of the anthropology dept., not the music dept., while the anthropology dept. regards ethnomusicology as part of the music dept., which can leave the students rather twisting in the wind, neither one nor the other, while not allowed a dept. to itself. At the same time this perhaps accounts for why enormous amounts of the primary research and best musicology still is accomplished by non-academics, non-faculty.