|• Mayor||Henry Bäsecke (Ind.)|
|• Total||35.36 km2 (13.65 sq mi)|
|• Density||320/km2 (830/sq mi)|
|Time zone||CET/CEST (UTC+1/+2)|
Schöningen is a town of about 11,000 inhabitants in the district of Helmstedt, Lower Saxony, Germany. It is located near the border with Saxony-Anhalt, on the southeastern rim of the Elm hill range. In its current form, it was created in 1974 by joining the municipalities of Esbeck, Hoiersdorf, and Schöningen.
Schöningen is a stop on the German Timber-Frame Road.
In archaeology, Schöningen is famous for the Schöningen Spears, four ancient wooden spears found in an opencast mine near the town (Bamford & Henderson 2003). The spears are about 400,000 years old (Klein. 2005. p114), making them the world's oldest human-made wooden artifacts, as well as the oldest weapons, ever found. Three of them were probably manufactured as projectile weapons, because the weight and tapered point is at the front of the spear making it fly straight in flight, similar to the design of a modern javelin. The fourth spear is shorter with points at both ends and is thought to be a thrusting spear or a throwing stick (Bamford & Henderson 2003). They were found in combination with the remains of about 20 wild horses, whose bones contain numerous butchery marks, including one pelvis that still had a spear sticking out of it. This is considered proof that early humans were active hunters with specialized tool kits.
The first historical mentioning of the Saxon settlement in the Royal Frankish Annals dates back to 747, when the Carolingian Pepin the Short stayed here during the conflict with his half-brother Grifo. Schöningen was the site of a Königspfalz of Pepin's son Charlemagne and later of the Ottonian dynasty. Saint Willigis, Archbishop of Mainz from 975, was probably born at Schöningen about 940.
From the 14th century it was held by the Welf dukes of Brunswick-Lüneburg, who granted Schöningen town privileges in 1332. About 1350 Duke Magnus the Pious had a castle built here to secure the nearby border with the Bishopric of Halberstadt.
The main industry in Schöningen is open-cast mining of lignite, which is used for electricity generation in the Buschhaus Power Station. Both mining and generation are operated by E.ON subdivisions. Buschhaus power station and open-cast mining will be closed down in 2017. The Buschhaus plant now inhibits three lines of thermal waste treatment.
Seats in the municipal assembly (Stadtrat) as of 2011[update] elections:
- Social Democratic Party of Germany (SPD): 17
- Christian Democratic Union (CDU): 9
- Free Voters: 2
- Alliance '90/The Greens: 2
Schöningen is twinned with:
- Beni Hassen, Monastir Governorate, Tunisia
- Oschersleben, Germany
- Outokumpu, Finland
- Zolochiv, Ukraine
- Klein, R. "Hominin dispersals in the old world". In Scarre, C. The human past: World prehistory and the development of human societies. London: Thames & Hudson. ISBN 978-0-500-28531-2.
- Bamford, Marion K.; Henderson, Zoe L. (2003). "A reassessment of the wooden fragment from Florisbad, South Africa". Journal of Archaeological Science 30 (6): 637–651. doi:10.1016/S0305-4403(02)00245-5.
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Schöningen travel guide from Wikivoyage