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 Historical references report of similar lyras even in the eighth century AD.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.