Karsthöhle Dienstedt

Oberfeldhöhlen Dienstedt - Dienstedter Karsthöhle

Useful Information

Location: Autobahn A4 Eisenach-Dresden: exits Arnstadt, Erfurt-West or Erfurt-Ost
Autobahn A71 Erfurt-Suhl-Schweinfurt/Bamberg: exit Traßdorf
NE Stadtilm, at the B87 Apolda-Stadtilm-Ilmenau.
(50.8141, 11.17525)
Open: MAY to OCT Sat 13-17.
Fee: Adults EUR 2, Children EUR 1.
Classification: SpeleologyKarst cave
Light: LightIncandescent Electric Light System
Dimension: L=350 m, A=340 m asl, H=90%, T=8 °C.
Guided tours: L=155 m, St=13, D=40 min..
Address: Herr Gebser, 99326 Ilmtal, Tel: +49-3629-812504, Mobile: +49-176-96615185.
Gemeinde Ilmtal, Wassergasse 4, OT Griesheim, 99326 Ilmtal, Tel: +49-3629-8305-0, Fax: +49-3629-8305-66.
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.


1953 excavated by Felix Gebser from Dienstedt.
1957 bis 1982 excavations.
1994 developed as a show cave.


The Karsthöhle Dienstedt (karst cave Dienstedt) is located about 1km northeast of Dienstedt, at the southern slopes of the Schenkhopfenberg, an area which is called Oberfeld. There are three caves, which are also called Oberfeldhöhlen (Oberfeld caves).

A petrified part of a jawbone of a dinosaur was found in the cave. It originates from the limestone, the cave is located in. It is called Muschelkalk in German, a fossil rich Middle Triassic limestone. The caves are former river caves, located 23 m above the niveau of todays Ilm river. The cave rivers were tributaries to the Ilm, two to five million years ago. The cave shows impressive erosional forms. Very nice solutional profiles were unfortunately partly destroyed by improper development works like artificial tunnels and brick walls.

The cave was used about 4,000 years ago by people from a Celtic culture locally known as Bandkeramiker. This translates Linear Band Pottery, a name given to the people after a pottery style by which they are identified. They left the remains of fireplaces, animal bones, bone tools, and pottery shards. Of special interest are nice findings of awls, needles a well preserved cup made of burnt clay.

The exploration of the cave was originally initiated by Felix Gebser (*1907-✝1988) from Dienstedt. He was Bodendenkmalpfleger, a honorary position similar to a park ranger in the USA. In the early 1950s he searched around Dienstedt for archaeological remains. After several fruitless excavations, he discovered in 1953 the cave, in which he soon found prehistoric remains. During 25 years the cave was excavated by the Museum für Ur- und Frühgeschichte Weimar, always supported by Mr Gerbser and many other honorary workers. After the archaeological excavations were completed, the cave was developed as a show cave.