Author: Cajus G. Diedrich

Series Title: Famous Planet Earth Caves

Sophie’s Cave (Germany) - a Late Pleistocene Cave Bear Den

Volume 1

eBook: US $24 Special Offer (PDF + Printed Copy): US $102
Printed Copy: US $90
Library License: US $96
ISSN: 2405-7207 (Print)
ISSN: 2405-7215 (Online)
ISBN: 978-1-68108-001-7 (Print)
ISBN: 978-1-68108-000-0 (Online)
Year of Publication: 2015
DOI: 10.2174/97816810800001150101


Famous Planet Earth Caves - The new series presents important caves or rock shelters in any kind of rock types all over the world. Each book focuses on a single cave presentation covering different and most important disciplines of a cave: Geology (e.g. cave genesis, sedimentology, speleothems) such as Hydrogeology (e.g. speleothems for climate reconstructions, aquifer reconstructions), Paleontology (e.g. cave bear or carnivore dens), Archeology (e.g. Palaeolithic to Medieval camp or burial sites) and modern Biology (e.g. bat caves). The books are scientific chaptered monographs, sometimes of show caves, but often of non- or difficult to access caves. The well illustrated books are written in a mixed scientific and popular scientific way for a better understanding and larger readership, especially speleologists and natural scientists all over the world.

This volume gives details of Sophie’s cave in Ahorntal, Germany. The cave is notable for the presence of bears throughout the ice age and this has shaped the biological and hunting activities in its vicinity. Readers will find information about the speleology, ice age paleontology and archeology of this intriguing limestone show cave.

Indexed in: Scopus, Book Citation Index, Science Edition, Social Sciences & Humanities, EBSCO.


The new Famous Planet Earth Caves e-book series challenges to present important caves all over the world scientifically, but somehow also popular in a mixture, that non-experts can understand their main importance. The Sophie’s Cave in southern Germany belongs obviously to one of the oldest show caves in Germany and Europe and has a long Earth history starting 5 My ago with most importace for the Ice Age and ist impact for the landscape reconstruction of northern Bavarian Upper Francínka. This is a beautiful dolomite rock and valley landscape, that became famous already in historic times. It was visited by many first and famous natural scientists from England (Buckland), France (Cuvier) and Germany (Goldfuss). The book is interdisciplinary but with a strong focus on its main importace – a Late Ice Age cave bear den within a former boreal forest environment of the medium high up to 550 a.s.l. elevated Franconia mountains. It presents a first detail scientific work of a leading German Paleontologist after more then 150 years of non-research about the complex cave use by different cave bear species and subspecies, and their predation by lions, hyenas and wolves. I tis completely different to the classical and old cave bear book, and updates much the knowledge about small and large cave bear ecology in Europe and their life and battle to survive in taiga forest mountain areas of central Europe, which was long misunderstood due to detail work lack about the top predators of Europe – the last lions and hyenas. Those specialized in mountain areas on cave bear feeding well to see at the Sophie’s Cave bone material. The new systematic excavations are well documented, and are illustrated with the cave inhabiting or dwelling animals in action and „nigth-google vision cave view“ – a new way of illustrating by a famous Ice Age artist, who painted also for the famous Beringeria Visitor Center in Youkon, Canada. From the archaeological view, the cave has another unique record, a larger reindeer antler and bone depot within the most nice speleothem decorated hall. Early modern Cromagno humans of the Aurignacien came into this cave-rich region for hunting migrating reindeeer herds in the steep valleys, but here in Upper Franconia, those did not paint or left engravings of animals mainly such as in Spamish and French caves. Here, and at other caves in Germany, shamanism was practiced by the Late Palaeolithic reindeer hunters similar as modern Scandinavian Sami people did until the Medieval times – depositions of antlers of their most important game, the reindeer at religious places. Finally the book gives a first insight about the typical modern cave animals, and postglacial use by Bronze Age, Iron Age and Medieval people, which resettled the valleys and cave entrances of Upper Franconia.

Cajus G. Diedrich
PalaeoLogic, Research Institute
Petra Bezruce 96, CZ-26751 Zdice
Czech Republic


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