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The main hall

The main hall

Location: Altmuehltal , Germany
48 ° 55 '40 "  N , 11 ° 49' 1"  E Coordinates: 48 ° 55 '40 "  N , 11 ° 49' 1"  E
Schulerloch (Bavaria)
Cadastral number: H 1
Type: Stalactite cave
Discovery: First mentioned in 1783
Show cave since: 1828
Lighting: electric (since 1953)
Overall length: 420 meters
Length of the show
cave area:
180 meters
Website: official page

The Schulerloch is a stalactite cave in the Altmühltal near Essing in the Kelheim district , Lower Bavaria in Bavaria .


Sinter basin
Ceiling sinter

The 420 meter long cave in the Jura limestone is located 55 meters above the valley floor of the Altmühl and is one of the longest caves in the area of ​​the Lower Altmühltal. The largest room is 793 m². The Schulerloch is registered as H 1 in the Franconian Alb cave cadastre (HFA). The Schulerloch has been designated as a geotope (273H001) and natural monument by the Bavarian State Office for the Environment . In addition, the adjacent area is designated as a nature reserve Schulerloch .

Noteworthy are some sinter basins reminiscent of water basins and the cauliflower-like sintered jewelry on the cave ceiling.

The show cave can only be visited as part of guided tours and, because of its acoustics, is also used for various events. In the spring of 2015, a multimedia light show was installed in the main hall. It is closed from November to March to protect the wintering bats .


First, the monk Edmund Schmid from Weltenburg Abbey described the cave in a document that has since been lost. The Schulerloch was mentioned for the first time in a letter from 1783. In it it is claimed that the cave served as a retreat for Bavarian dukes. The Kelheim doctor and naturalist Mathias Brunnwieser, whose report from 1789 was published seven years later by Franz von Paula Wardrobe (1747–1835) in a collection of articles, had described the access as "difficult". Franz von Paula schrank reported at the same time that the name of the cave comes from the fact that "some schoolboys went in", "and because they could not find their way out, they perished miserably in it."

The judge and district administrator in the rain district of Anton von Schmaus acquired the area with the cave in 1825 and had an observation tower and a residential tower built at the entrance and an inscription with reference to a Celtic druid school that was once located there, according to legend . In 1826-28 the entrance areas of the cave were changed accordingly. In 1882 the Gruber family became the owners of the cave.

The name Schulerloch is partly traced back to the Druid School and partly to the Altbair word Schuller for robbers. There is also a legend of a blasphemous robber who is said to have turned to stone with his dog as a punishment. Another legend tells of school children who were lured there by an evil spirit and were never seen again.

Today's entrance is 402.5 m above sea level and 58.5 m above the mean water level of the Altmühl on the western slope of the confluence with the Ritzel Gorge. Other Middle Paleolithic sites are known nearby, such as the Klausenhöhle , the Sesselfelsgrotte , the Obernederhöhle or the Abri I at the Schulerloch. This find landscape was created in an area favorable for hunting. 40,000 to 60,000 years ago Neanderthals lived there seasonally. It is also certain that people stayed there in both the Neolithic and the Bronze Ages . Numerous finds come from the Middle Paleolithic , the Micoquien , or can be assigned to the wedge knife groups.

Two lay people, the dentist Dr. Schupp from Munich and the Kelheim judiciary inspector Alexander Oberneder drew the attention of the Prehistoric State Collection Munich (renamed the Archaeological State Collection in 2000 ) to the Schulerloch. Numerous silices came to light during the excavation of Ferdinand Birkner in 1915, who carried out investigations in the area between the entrance stairs and the "temple room" and which is now referred to as "residence". Today they are kept in the Archaeological State Collection in Munich. Oberneder was looking for Bronze Age finds and he worked with the authorities, while Schupp was banned from excavating. Typical of the Schulerloch inventory were Birkner finds with bifacial retouching, "wedges", various scraper shapes, some scratches, retouched blades, some of which only had irregular edge modifications, as well as "small forms", some of which also include irregularly changed forms. In contrast to Birkner, Max Schlosser also examined the fauna, which could very well be broken down into layers. Julius Andree even assigned the cave its own shape, which he called "hand tip culture". He dated the finds "in the second half and the end of the 1st advance of the last Ice Age".

It was not until Lothar Zotz in 1951 that the interpretation changed fundamentally, who complained that the “cultural content” had not been separated according to Straten. Although Birkner had not used the sequence of layers to structure the found material, Zotz used it for this purpose, a method that others followed, relying solely on typological considerations.

In 1982 a box with more than 900 flint artifacts from the Großer Schulerloch was discovered in the Archaeological State Collection in Munich, which prompted further typological comparative investigations.

The tradition of the find is unclear, the association of the material could only be partially clarified, as well as the archaeological units contained therein.

200 meters west of the Großer Schulerloch is the Kleiner Schulerloch with a prehistoric rock carving of an ibex or reindeer. The motif was discovered by the judicial inspector Alexander Oberneder from Kelheim and the taxidermist Oskar Rieger in 1937. The Kleine Schulerloch is closed by a gate and is not accessible to visitors.


  • H. and E. Gruber: The Great Schulerloch - The stalactite cave in the Altmühltal. Publisher M. Gstöttner, Regensburg 1984
  • Marcus Beck: The stone artifacts from the Großer Schulerloch (Birkner excavation 1915). For the reconstruction of inventories as well as the question of the cultural and chronological classification of old excavated finds on the basis of archaeological methods. (Online dissertation, PDF 17 MB)

See also

Individual evidence

  1. Geotope: Schulerloch (PDF; 189 kB)
  2. ^ Government of Lower Bavaria, Schulerloch nature reserve (accessed on February 8, 2013; PDF; 840 kB)
  3. This section follows Marcus Beck: The stone artifacts from the Großer Schulerloch (Birkner excavation 1915). On the reconstruction of inventories and on the question of the cultural and chronological classification of an old excavated find material on the basis of archaeological methods , diss., Erlangen-Nürnberg 2006, passim.
  4. ^ Franz von Paula cabinet: Mineralogical description of the Kelheim area , in: Ders. (Ed.): Collection of natural history and physical essays , Raspesche Buchhandlung, Nuremberg 1796, pp. 341-380, here: p. 353 ( digitized version ).
  5. Ferdinand Birkner: The Ice Age Settlement of the Schulerloch and the Lower Altmühltal , Treatises of the Royal Bavarian Academy of Sciences, Mathematical-Physical Class, Volume XXVIII, 5th Treatise, Munich 1916.
  6. Julius Andree: The Ice Age Man in Germany and His Cultures , Stuttgart 1939, p. 288.
  7. Marcus Beck: The stone artifacts from the Großer Schulerloch (Birkner excavation 1915). On the reconstruction of inventories and on the question of the cultural and chronological classification of an old excavated find material on the basis of archaeological methods , Diss. Erlangen-Nürnberg 2006, p. 1.

Web links

Commons : Schulerloch (cave)  - Collection of pictures, videos and audio files