The jews-harp's origins are obscure. There is an argument that, because of its perceived simplicity, the instrument could have evolved in many places in the world at any time. A number of writers over the years have given their opinions as to the jews-harp's origins–some are quite considered, while others are plainly ridiculous. The spread of instruments from Asia to the rest of the world divided into two distinctive phases. The first phase of social interaction centres on the area mainly covered by Inner Mongolia, Mongolia and North and Central Asia from Eastern Siberia to the Ural Mountains. The second phase of commercial expansion focuses on Europe, the Americas and Africa. The jews-harp was a recognisable musical instrument in Britain certainly by the fourteenth century. Archaeological finds from that period have been discovered all over Britain and Ireland, the overwhelming majority being the frame only, the lamella being the first part of the instrument to rot away.