Drachenloch

Drachenloch

 

a cave in the eastern part of the Swiss Alps, south of the Bodensee (Switzerland), located at an elevation of 2,445 m. During the Moustierian period it was inhabited by Neanderthal hunters (according to radioactive carbon dating more than 50,000 years ago). Excavations conducted by E. Báchler have yielded of a hearth, stone and bone implements, numerous bones of the cave bear, and “boxes” made of limestone slabs, which were apparently used to keep the most valuable parts of bear carcasses. Some investigators believe that the groups of bear skulls stored together with the bones from limbs in these “boxes” testify to the origin of primitive religious beliefs during this period.

REFERENCES

Efimenko, P. P. Pervobytnoe obshchestvo, 3rd ed. Kiev, 1953.
Bächler, E. Das alpine Paläolithikum der Schweiz. Basel, 1940.
Müller-Karpe, H. Handbuch der Vorgeschichte, vol. 1: Altsteinzeit. Munich, 1966.
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In 1945 Le Gros Clark refers to the `rather extreme' form of European, Neanderthals (volume 14) and Matheson's 1942 survey of Man and bear in Europe (volume 16) discusses Neanderthal `cave bear cults', reporting the series of `stone chests' at Drachenloch in Switzerland and elsewhere as evidence of ritual.