The original one was found in Norway, at Kravik. The dating is uncertain, situated around the thirteenth century AD. Historical references report of similar lyras even in the eighth century AD.
Originally the strings where seven, the eighth one was added in later period.
Of Finnish origin, it is a very particular instrument, both for the structure and for the way of playing it. Furthermore, the date of its appearance is ignored. A stone sculpture in the cathedral of Nidaros-Trondheim testifies its use even in the twelfth century. The body, which resembles the shape of a boat, is hollowed out from a single piece, and the strings are made of horsehair.
Possible simple form of a lyra from the Early Middle Ages, dated between the tenth and thirteenth centuries, with the same structural features as the Kravik lyra. The decoration on the bottom (back of the instrument) is not a replica, but of Viking inspiration in the Mammen style, dated around 970 AD and depicts Geri and Freki, the wolves of Odin.
Hypothetical reconstruction of a gallic (celtic) Lyre, based on a bas-relief of the second century b.C.
Even in this case the body is carved out from one piece.
Hypotetical reconstruction of a Germanic Lyra.
The peghead is quite similar to the sensational found from Ribe, this let us intuit the large presence of such instrument in 720 AD in Danemark.
We found this kind of Lyra also by alemannic burials (Trossingen, Germany) and in the migration period of the fifth century. Probably they where in use also in earlier times. There are even some illustrations for the viking period.
Hypothetical reconstruction of a Frankish Citola, based on the illustrations of the Stuttgarter Psalter, a Manuscript dated 9th century A.D. there are nine depictions of this instrument within the same manuscript, which differ from each other in some aesthetic details, in the number of strings (which can vary between four and seven) and in posture during use.
Hypothetical reconstruction of a Greek Lyra, based partly on representations and partly on finds.
Generally this type of Lyra has a body made from a turtle shell, in this case the shell is made of wood.
The soundboard is in parchment and the columns are in mouflon horn.
A further peculiarity is given by the absence of real pegs, instead tuning sticks are used, of which there is ample evidence even in ancient Greece.