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Sirgenstein Cave - Caves and Ice Age Art in the Swabian Jura

Blaubeuren, Germany

The small Sirgenstein Cave, German: Sirgensteinhöhle is situated 565 m (1,854 ft) above sea level inside the 20 m (66 ft) high Sirgenstein, a limestone rock. The cave sits 35 m (115 ft) above the Ach River valley bottom in the central Swabian Jura, southern Germany. Archaeologist R. R. Schmidt excavated the site in 1906 during which he identified indices of prehistoric human presence. He recorded the complete stratigraphic sequence of Palaeolithic and Neolithic origin. In his 1910 analysis Schmidt inspired future archaeologists with his pioneering concept of including the excavation site within its geographic region, contextualizing it within a wide scientific spectrum and demonstrated valuable results as he correlated the Sirgenstein layer structure to those of prehistoric sites in France. Mammoth ivory beads dating from 39,000 to 35,000 years ago have been uncovered at the cave. Because of its historical and cultural significance and its testimony to the development of Paleolithic art, the cave was inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List as part of the Caves and Ice Age Art in the Swabian Jura site in 2017. Modern humans first arrived in Europe 43,000 years ago during the last ice age. One of the areas where they took up residence was the Swabian Jura in southern Germany. Excavated from the 1860s, six caves have revealed items dating from 43,000 to 33,000 years ago. Among them are carved figurines of animals (including cave lions, mammoths, horses and bovids), musical instruments and items of personal adornment. Other figurines depict creatures that are half animal, half human and there is one statuette of a woman. These archaeological sites feature some of the oldest figurative art worldwide and help shed light on the origins of human artistic development. The Sirgenstein Cave in Blaubeuren is one of the largest and best-known dripstone caves in Germany. It is located under the town of Blaubeuren in the Upper Danube Valley, about 15 kilometres north of Ulm.

The cave is about 3.5 million years old and contains several spectacular dripstone formations, including a huge, illuminated sinter terrace that is one of the largest in Europe. The cave is 900 metres long and is also home to some rare minerals, including calcite and gypsum.

The Sirgenstein Cave has been known since the Middle Ages. It was the first dripstone cave to be explored and opened to the public in the 19th century. At the entrance to the cave is a museum with an exhibition on the history of the cave and a planetarium where visitors can observe the stars and the moon.

Nowadays, Sirgenstein Cave is a popular destination for tourists. It offers a variety of activities, including guided tours of the cave, visiting the sinter terrace and minerals, observing nature and much more. There is also a car park right in front of the cave, so you can easily access it.

Sirgenstein Cave is a wonderful place to admire the beauty of nature. It is a must for anyone who wants to have a unique and unforgettable experience.