Hohle Fels

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"Hohler Fels" is also the name of another cave situated near Happurg, Bavaria.
Hohle Fels
Hohler Fels.jpg
The entrance of the Hohle Fels cave
Hohle Fels is located in Germany
Hohle Fels
Shown within Germany
Location Schelklingen, Baden-Württemberg, Germany
Region Swabian Alps
Coordinates 48°22′45″N 9°45′20″E / 48.37917°N 9.75556°E / 48.37917; 9.75556Coordinates: 48°22′45″N 9°45′20″E / 48.37917°N 9.75556°E / 48.37917; 9.75556
Type Cave
Periods Upper Paleolithic
Cultures Aurignacian

The Hohle Fels (German pronunciation: [ˈhoːləˈfɛls]) (also Hohlefels, Hohler Fels, German for "hollow rock") is a cave in the Swabian Alps of Germany that has yielded a number of important archaeological finds dating to the Upper Paleolithic. Artifacts found in the cave represent some of the earliest examples of prehistoric art and musical instruments ever discovered. The cave is just outside the town of Schelklingen in the state of Baden-Württemberg, near Ulm.


The cave entrance is at 534 m (1,752 ft) above sea level. The cave consists of a tunnel of about 15 m (50 ft) and a hall holding about 6,000 m3 (210,000 cu ft), making the cave hall one of the largest of Southern Germany.


The first excavation took place in 1870, yielding remnants of cave bears, reindeer, mammoths and horses as well as tools belonging to the Aurignacian culture of the Upper Paleolithic.

Further excavations during 1958 to 1960, 1977, and 2002 yielded a number of spectacular finds, including several specimens of prehistoric sculpture such as an ivory bird and a human-lion hybrid figure similar to the Löwenmensch figurine but only 2.5 cm tall. In 2005, one of the oldest phallic representations was discovered.[1]

In 2008, a team from the University of Tübingen, led by archaeologist Nicholas Conard, discovered an artifact known as the Venus of Hohle Fels, dated to about 35,000 to 40,000 years ago.[2] This is the earliest known Venus figurine and the earliest undisputed example of expressly human figurative art.[2] The team also unearthed a bone flute in the cave, and found two fragments of ivory flutes in nearby caves. The flutes date back at least 35,000 years and are some of the earliest musical instruments ever found.[3] In 2012, it was announced that an earlier discovery of bone flute fragments in Geißenklösterle Cave now date back to about 42,000 years, instead of 37,000 years, as earlier perceived.[4][5]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Amos, Jonathan (July 25, 2005). "Ancient phallus unearthed in cave". BBC News. 
  2. ^ a b Conard, Nicholas J. "A female figurine from the basal Aurignacian of Hohle Fels Cave in southwestern Germany" (PDF). Nature. 459 (7244): 248–252. doi:10.1038/nature07995. PMID 19444215. 
  3. ^ Wilford, John N. (June 24, 2009). "Flutes Offer Clues to Stone-Age Music". Nature. 459 (7244): 248–52. Bibcode:2009Natur.459..248C. doi:10.1038/nature07995. PMID 19444215. Lay summaryThe New York Times. 
  4. ^ Vergano, Dan (May 24, 2012). "Prehistoric flutes date to 42,000 years ago". USA Today. 
  5. ^ "Oldest Art Even Older: New Dates from Geißenklösterle Cave Show Early Arrival of Modern Humans, Art and Music". Science Daily. May 24, 2012. 

Further reading[edit]

  • Jill Cook: Ice Age Art: the Arrival of the Modern Mind; [... to accompany the exhibition of the British Museum from 7 February to 26 May 2013]. London: British Museum Press, 2013. ISBN 978-0-7141-2333-2

External links[edit]