Flyer Stone Age Cave - Nationalpark Bayerischer Wald

Flyer Stone Age Cave - Nationalpark Bayerischer Wald


Stone Age Cave

Return to the Bavarian Forest Ice Age

Truly natural, thinly populated forest landscapes - home of the

red deer. The proud herbivores are the last specimens of a once

plenteous variety of large animals in Central Europe. Since the

early Middle Ages, their habitats and their expansion, that

nowadays merely takes place in isolated sectors, have been influenced

by man. But that was not always the case! For millions

of years it was the climate that determined the course of events

on Earth! Warm periods produced profuse plant and tree

growth and rich wildlife as well. Tropically warm temperatures

caused rocks to be worn away quickly and soil to be eroded .

Flora change - Fauna change

Under these arctic conditions only the hardiest plant and animal species can

survive. The forests that up to this time have been present here, move to warmer,

more southerly regions. Frugal and cold-resistant types of grasses, dwarf shrubs and

lichens migrate to regions freed from ice. A tundra of a myriad of species spreads

across wide sections of the landscape.

Along with the arrival of the cold steppe, other species of animals also enter our

area: wild horses, reindeer, musk ox, wooly rhino and mammoth now roam through

the largely treeless plains. Their seasonal migrations even lead them in the inner

part of the present Bavarian Forest. Thanks to their thick hide and massive layers of

fat it is easily able to withstand the icy cold spells and food shortages during the

winter months.

Ice Age Man

Globetrotter and survival artist

The early humans that had been roaming Europe for hundreds

of thousands of years also knew how to survive in this cold

climate. Rock caves frequently serve them as living quarters

and sites for spiritual activities. Because they know how to

utilise fire, the human beings of the Ice Age are better equipped

to cope with the hostile climate. Reindeer and aurochs, wild

horses an mammoths are coveted prey and provide them with

energy-rich food. They use the furs, hides and bones of these

animals to make clothes and tools. New hunting techniques

and more effective weapons enhance their hunting success.

The reproduction of a section of the famous Chauvet Cave in the Ardèche Valley in

Southern France opens a window to the past. We`ve built a living bridge between the

Ice Age and the Present with the wild horses and ancient cattle grazing in the

enclosure outside.

Presentation boards and 3D animations illustrate how the climate, landscape and

animal kingdom changed in the last Ice Age and the immediate post Ice Age period,

as well as how man responded to these environmental and climatic changes with

innovative new hunting techniques.

About two million years ago the climate changes drastically: In

the centuries to come, long periods of cold weather would

alternate with short warm phases. During the cold periods

temperatures start falling. Precipitation occurs ever more

frequently in the form of snow. The ice layers in the polar

regions begin to grow and in the Alps as well glaciers advance!

At the height of the last ice epoch - around 20.000 years ago -

the highest mountains in the Bavarian Forest even have ice

caps. Small glaciers glide down from them into the valleys.

Homo sapiens

appears in Central Europe

About 40.000 years ago, Homo sapiens sapiens - anatomical

“modern man” - appears on the scene in Central Europe! Our

direct ancestors were not only highly specialised in the art of

survival, but they were also the first representatives of the

species Homo sapiens, that produced the oldest “works of art”

in the history of mankind in Europe: small sculptures, cave

paintings and rock engravings! Such caves and other traces of

human settlement dating back to the Old Stone Age are missing

in the Bavarian Forest. The acidic primary rock in the lower

stratum does not conserve the bones of men and animals.

Stone Age Caves with Permanent Exhibition

What was it like for our ancestors when they could still meet the Bavarian Forest`s

large indigenous animal fauna? This is the thrilling situation we try to recreate in the

Wildlife Enclosure Area (Tier-Freigelände) near Ludwigsthal. Aurochs and wild horses -

imposing hoofed animals that were indigenous here during the Ice Ages can be

observed from the visitor trail, which takes you to a dark rock cave where impressive

cave paintings of life-like wild animals have been reconstructed. Images of fleeing

herds of cattle and transitory wild horses on the dimly-lit rock faces demonstrate the

extraordinary powers of observation of the “old masters” and illustrate the special

relationship between Stone Age man and the animal kingdom of the time.


Nationalparkverwaltung Bayerischer Wald

Freyunger Straße 2

94481 Grafenau

Telefon 0 85 52 / 96 000

Telefax 0 85 52 / 96 00 100

Illustrationen © Burkard Pfeifroth, Reutlingen

Supported as part of




The Horse Panel

from the Chauvet Cave, Southern France

On 18th December 1994, a few cavers in the Ardèche

region of Southern France couldn't believe their eyes.

They had just made a sensational discovery - the Chauvet

Cave with the oldest known cave paintings in world to

date. The age and advanced artistic quality of these

representations put current assumptions regarding the

origins of art into question. Featuring scuffling rhinoceros,

wild horses, bison, lions and a herd of wild aurochs, the six

meter long "Horse Panel" in the Chauvet Cave is

considered a masterpiece of pre-historic art.To the right, a

cave lion sniffs the rear of a crouching companion. Both

animals belong to an extinct, mane-less species and are

possibly about to mate. These are just two of the

numerous paintings in the Ardèche cave that were

created probably over 35,000 years ago and bear amazing

witness to the creativity of Old Stone Age man.

Given their enormous value for research into the history of

mankind, the treasures of the Chauvet Cave are not open

to the public. That's why we invite you to visit the

reconstructed "Stone Age Cave" at the entrance to the

Wildlife Enclosure Area (Tier-Freigelände) near Ludwigsthal

where you can admire a small piece of this pre-historic art

treasure up close.

You can take a virtual tour of the original cave on the

Internet at:

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