by Katrin Hieke
New UNESCO World Heritage: Caves and Ice Age Art of the Swabian Alb
On the southern edge of the Swabian Alb lie important prehistoric find spots. In four caves in the Ach and the Lone Valley (Geißenklösterle, Hohle Fels, Hohlenstein-Stadel, and Vogelherd) figurines of animals and humans were excavated, carved of Mammoth ivory.
With an age of about 40.000 years they belong to the oldest artworks of mankind. Flutes made from mammoth ivory and bird bones from the same time are the oldest known musical instruments on the world. With a lot of jewellery these objects provide a deep insight into the symbolic thinking of the early modern humans. Jewellery, art, music and symbolic imagination – these four cultural innovations belong to the Aurignacian (43.000 – 34.000 years ago).
Two other caves (Sirgenstein and Bockstein) are very important for reasons of the history of paleolithic research in this region.
This unique ensemble of find spots was declared World Heritage by the 41st session of the UNESCO-Committee in Krakow (Poland) in July 2017.
The Ice Age Europe network is delighted to welcome yet another World Heritage Site in the network! Some of the mankind's eldest known works of art, the figurines from Hohle Fels cave as well as the flutes, are on show at our members the Museum of Prehistory Blaubeuren and Archäopark Vogelherd.