16 km west of Ulm at the B28.
A8 exit Merklingen, towards Lachingen, at Machtolsheim turn left to Blaubeuren.
In Blaubeuren at the end of the tunnel turn right towards Schelklingen.
At the village Weiler turn left, park at end of the road.
Trail to the cave 15 min uphill, signposted.
Area open, archaeological excavations closed.
Open at Tag des offenen Denkmals, and other special days.
|Classification:||Karst cave Collapsed Cave|
|Guided tours:||self guided|
Eberhard Wagner (1979):
Eiszeitjäger im Blaubeurer Tal,
Führer zu archäologischen Denkmälern in Baden-Württemberg, Band 6,
Karl Theiss Verlag, Stuttgart, 1979.
Joachim Hahn (1988): Die Geißenklösterle-Höhle im Achtal bei Blaubeuren, Karl Theiss Verlag, Stuttgart, 1988.
Claus-Stephan Holdermann, Hansjürgen Müller-Beck, Ulrich Simon (): Eiszeitkunst im süddeutsch-schweizerischen Jura, Anfänge der Kunst
Karl Theiss Verlag, Stuttgart, ISBN: 3-806-21674-6
|As far as we know this information was accurate when it was published (see years in brackets), but may have changed since then.
Please check rates and details directly with the companies in question if you need more recent info.
|1973||bone flute discovered.|
|1979||oldest known sculpture of an human found.|
|1984||6 cm long rock coloured red, black, and yellow discovered.|
|1987||limestone rock with a black chevron discovered.|
|1990||second bone flute discovered.|
|2002||last excavation so far.|
|2017||inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List.|
The Geißenklösterle is the remain of a once huge cavern, which today resembles the ruin of a gothic church. Located in the Blautal (Blau valley) it lies at the foot of a limestone cliff high above the valley floor. The cave is easily to find and as it is not a deep cave, just a shelter, it is very easy to visit, but a part of the cave where the archaeological excavations take place is closed by fences. During the last quarter of the 20th century the cave was mainly excavated by Joachim Hahn. Since his dead Nicholas Conard and Hans-Peter Uerpmann from the Institut für Ur- und Frühgeschichte und Archäologie des Mittelalters of the Universität Tübingen continued his work.
In the Geißenklösterle numerous statues from different Prehistoric cultures were found, especially from the Old Stoneage. Several times traces of colour were found on the Jurassic limestone. Colour is always an important discovery in southern Germany, because of the total lack of any kind of murals or cave paintings. Although cave paintings are found in abundance to the west and the east, there are absolutely no cave paintings in Germany. It seems unlogical, that Stone Age painters completely forbeared from painting in Germany, especially as numerous carved ivory artworks were discovered. More probable is the physical explanation, that different climatic conditions destroyed all the paintings, while they were preserved in France and the Ural.
The color remains which were found so far were found in the cave sediment, but they may be the remains of destroyed murals, which were destroyed when the wall eroded and the surface was washed down. The sediment they were found in may have preserved them from the influences which destroyed the paintings on the walls. Such a finding from the Aurignacien layer is a limestone block which is 84cm long, 64 cm wide, and 44 cm thick, which is painted on three sides with three different colours. In the year 1984 a 6 cm long rock was discovered, which is coloured red, black, and yellow. This is rather weird, as the German flag has the same colours. In 1987 another rock with a black chevron was discovered.
Even more important for international archaeology are the discoveries of music instruments. So far two bone flutes and a drumstick made of ren antler were discovered. The rather simple piece of antler was interpreted as a drumstick because it resembles the drumsticks of Sami shamans which live north of the arctic circle.
The last excavations in 2001 and 2002 were dedicated to the transition from Neanderthals to modern Homo sapiens, about 40,000 years ago. The result was, that the Geißenklösterle was not used by both races at the same time. Between the Neandertal layer and the Homo sapiens layer is a layer completely without any remains. The Homo sapiens layer is full of artefacts of stone, jewellery made of teeth and bones, and a layer of ashes. Modern man immigrated along the Danube, during a rather short period of time, which resulted in a sort of cultural boost.