Sites & cities that bear the name of Brillenhöhle


Today in : Germany
First trace of activity : ca. 30,500 B.C.E
Last trace of activity : ca. 10,500 B.C.E

Description : The Brillenhöhle (German: Brillenhöhle, literally spectacles cave) is a cave ruin, located 16 km (9.94 mi) west of Ulm on the Swabian Alb in south-western Germany, where archaeological excavations have documented human habitation since as early as 30,000 years ago. Excavated by Gustav Riek from 1955 to 1963, the cave's Upper Paleolithic layers contain a sequence of Aurignacian, Gravettian and Magdalenian artifacts. In 1956 the first human fossils were discovered within a fireplace in the center of the cave, a discovery which made important contributions to the foundational understanding of the Magdalenian culture of central Europe. It is assumed that the cave was not frequently inhabited by humans during the Aurignacian since only two broken bone tools were found in layer XIV. Gravettian finds originate in layer VII. In addition to 52 tools made of animal bones, reindeer antler and mammoth ivory, more than 1000 stone tools were unearthed, including blades, gouges and scrapers. More than 80 artifacts were identified as jewelry, including numerous ivory beads, beaded bones, perforated animal teeth and notched bone rods. Most discoveries were made in the Magdalenian strata, coming primarily from layers VI to IV. Stone tools, fireplaces, smashed bones and more than 1100 stone tools were found. Notable artifacts include harpoons of ivory or reindeer antler with barbed hooks on one or both sides. Animal bones include mammoth, wild horse, reindeer and cave bear. Smashed human skull fragments with traces of exposure to fire were repeatedly regarded as evidence of cannibalism, but according to Gustav Riek, the lack of powdered ochre is evidence that excludes head burials. Nevertheless, the theory of cannibalism has not entirely been repudiated. The skeletal remains of the central fireplace in the Magdalenian-layer IV had been arranged in deliberate burial fashion. Neolithic and Bronze Age: In the heavily mixed upper layers II and I, Neolithic as well as Early and Late Bronze Age ceramic vascular and wall shards were found. Some layers were permanently destroyed during the various excavations. Nonetheless, the cave still holds potential value for future archaeologists, since some areas formerly deemed "unproductive" have still remained untouched. In order to preserve these undocumented areas, the cave was protected by an armored, latticed gate, to prevent access but enable inspection.

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