Although often recreational today, music can also accompany ritual and form indices of social class and political affiliation. Its practitioners may be drawn into close proximity with government and serve the political purposes of institutions and states. New instrument ﬁnds from inhumation cemeteries of the 5th to 8th centuries CE in northern and Atlantic Europe emphasize the political relevance of ancient musics associated with the lyre. While early historical accounts of singers, their political connexions and acts of diplomacy connect ancient song with political landscapes, so the ﬁnds emerge as material proxies for political agency. Might closely similar ﬁnds of the earlier Iron Age reference political agency in cul-tural milieux that lie ‘beyond the texts’ in deep Prehistory?