Story and photos by Angelika Aguilar
USAG Stuttgart Public Affairs
The caves in the Alb region represent a unique archive of history of civilization.
The early Stone Age people created figures and instruments from mammoth ivory and animal bone. World renown discoveries were made in the caves of the Ach and Lone valleys, including the oldest artworks created by man. The most sensational finds and oldest artworks are nearly 40,000 year-old, including the legendary lion man, the little horse, the mammoth and many other small figures from the valley caves. There are also some old tools and remains of hunting quarry, bearing witness to how people used to live on the Alb.
Clad in his unique Ice Age hunter’s garb, Dr. Wolfgang Bausch, a graduate geologist and certified geopark guide, met our group of 12 in the village of Rammingen to give us a foretaste of the adventure that lay ahead. From Rammingen, we walked 2-3 km to the first cave, the Bockstein Cave and the “Hohlenstein/Baerenhoehle (bear cave).
In the cave of the lion-headed figurine in Rammingen-Lindenau, you gain a first impression of the Lonetal (Lone Valley) caves where the oldest figurative works of art created by mankind were found. Because of this, the Lone Valley caves have attracted worldwide attention, and not only in archaeological circles. The Lone Valley caves were a place of refuge and settlement for early man; the Neanderthals retired to these caves 70,000 years ago to seek protection from the weather and their enemies. Several times, Bausch pointed out proof that Neanderthals were by no means stupid, but highly intelligent; early man also didn’t look anything like apes, as they are so often depicted, but looked astonishingly similar to today’s homo sapiens. He shared many images of how they actually looked.
The caves are easy to reach on foot from Rammingen-Lindenau (Hohlenstein 1 km, Bocksteinhöhle 2 km and Vogelherdhöhle 3 km). Next to the cave of the lion-headed figurine is one of the most attractive beer gardens in the region.
Visiting the geopark
Dive into the geopark adventure and experience the Earth’s history live. For your journey back in time, there are innumerable exciting geological highlights to discover all over the Swabian Albs. You can choose whether you would prefer to hunt for fossils, immerse yourself in the fascinating cave world of the Swabian Albs, examine a meteorite crater first-hand or marvel at the oldest known artworks.
To experience the Albs at first hand, a guided tour is just the thing. The landscape guides in the Geopark Swabian Albs are usually locals who have completed a special training course to become cultural landscape guides. They are the ideal people to accompany you and turn your hikes, cycling and bus tours into a fascinating and unforgettable experiences. There are various different groups of certified landscape guides right across the Swabian Albs.
Ice Age hunters Lone valley
Discover the caves of the Lone valley Stone Age-style with demonstrations and hands-on activities such as striking a fire from a stone, hunting with the weapons of the time (throwing sticks, spears, spear-throwers, bows and arrows) and painting with red ochre and charcoal. There are also clear explanatory texts with plenty of visual aids on site. The Ice Age hunters pass on information about our ancestors and their living conditions in a clear and well substantiated manner. The cost for a guided tour is €100; the entry fee to the Archäopark is €60 plus €7 per person. It’s recommended to get a group of at least 10-15 people to share the costs for the tour guide and the entry fee.
For more information, contact Dr. Wolfgang Bausch at 07023-908-202 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org