The  Unicorn Cave

The Unicorn Cave is the largest show cave in the western part of the Harz Mountains. The cave is situated in the oldest Permian dolomite, abt. 270 million years old. The cave itself has an age of about 1 million years. From the earliest days until now man has shown great interest in this cave.

Starting already in the Middle Ages people entered the cave to search for the fabled bones in the cave sediments. These bone-diggers believed to have found unicorn bones which were said to be very useful in medicine.

Skulls of cave bears; length abt. 40 cm
Unicorn Cave 1985/86 and 1988/89.

 

A first historic reference was found in a document of 1541. Since this time, an increasing number of famous scientists visited and explored the cave for geological reasons and in search of remains of prehistoric settlements. Most of the finds made were bones of the cave bear (Ursus spelaeus) and other large mammals (Panthera spelaea, Canis lupus and others).

During excavations in 1985/89 for the first time proofs of Ice Age settlement were found: stone tools of Neanderthal men living in the Unicorn Cave about 100.000 B.P., and also thousands of bones and teeths of cave bears.

 

Research in the Unicorn Cave 1988:
Dr. Ralf Nielbock was searching for "the early man" and the cave bear.


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