Hohle Fels is a large cave located near Schelklingen in the Ach valley, Swabian Jura (Baden-Württemberg, sourtwestern Germany). It has become known for its figurative art, musical instruments, and rich lithic and organic industries. In 2017, it became part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site “Caves and Ice Age Art in the Swabian Jura”.

Excavations in the cave started in the 1870s. Since 1977, excavations using high resolution documentation have been conducted almost continuously up until present day in the tunnel leading into the cave, first under the direction of Joachim Hahn and later Hans-Peter Uerpmann and Nicholas J. Conard. This work has revealed a Palaeolithic sequence where the Middle Palaeolithic layers are separated from the Upper Palaeolithic ones by an archaeologically sterile layer. The Upper Palaeolithic strata include Aurignacian, Gravettian and Magdalenian occupations.


  • Conard, N. J. and Bolus, M., 2003. Radiocarbon dating the appearance of modern humans and timing of cultural innovations in Europe: New results and new challenges. Journal of Human Evolution 44, 331–371.

  • Taller, A., Bolus, M. and Conard, N. J., 2014. The Magdalenian of Hohle Fels Cave and the Resettlement of the Swabian Jura after the LGM. In: Otte, M., Le Brun-Ricalens, F. (Eds.), Modes de contacts et de déplacements au Paléolithique eurasiatique: Actes du Colloque international de la commission 8 (Paléolithique supérieur) de l’UISPP, Université de Liège, 28–31 mai 2012. Centre National de Recherche Archéologique, Luxembourg.

For more information on the archaeological site, click here