Drachenloch


Useful Information

Location: Taminatal (Tamina valley) south of Bad Ragaz. Near Vättis, in the Calfeisental (Calfeisen valley), Kanton SG. A13 Zürich-Chur, exit Bad Ragaz Nord, towards center, turn right to Vättis, signposted.
Open: no restrictions
Fee: free
Classification:  Karst cave.
Light: bring torch
Dimension: A=2,445m asl.
Guided tours: no
Photography:  
Accessibility:  
Bibliography: Lewis Binford (1981): Bones: Ancient Men and Modern Myths, New York: Academic Press, 1981, p. 10.
J.M. Coles, E. S. Higgs (1969): The Archaeology of Early Man, New York: Frederick A. Praeger, 1969, p. 286-287.
E. Bächler (1921): Das Drachenloch ob Vättis im Taminatale, 2445 m ü.m. und seine Bedeutung als paläontologische Fundstätte und prähistorische Niederlassung aus der Altsteinzeit (Paläolithikum) im Schweizerlande, St. Gallen.
Address: Christian Mettler, Hüttenkopfstr. 34, CH 8051 Zuerich. E-mail: contact
As far as we know this information was accurate when it was published (see years in brackets), but may have changed since then.
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Last update:$Date: 2014/07/21 08:07:19 $

History

 
07-JUL-1917discovery of bones in the cave by the teacher Theophil Nigg from Vättis, and his 9 year old son Toni Nigg.
1917-1923excavations by Dr. Emil Bächler.
1981exhibition about the Drachenloch inaugurated in the Ortsmuseum Vättis.

Description

The Drachenloch (Dragon's Lair) was excavated in the years 1917 to 1923 by Dr. Emil Bächler. The remains of more than 30,000  cave bears (Ursus spelaeus) gave the cave its name.

Beneath the cave bear bones, two fire places were found, but no other human remains. However, a famous finding of Dr. Emil Bächler was a bear skull with a femor sticking behind the cheek-bone. This postition is only possible, if the femur is turned while it is moved behind the cheek-bone. This makes a human action very likely and started discussions about a bear cult of early man.

"In a chamber of the Drachenloch in Switzerland, a stone cist had been built to house stacked bear-skulls: piles of sorted long bones were laid along the walls of the cave. Another heap of bones contained the skull of a bear through which a leg bone had been forced, the skull resting upon two other long bones, each bone was from a different beast."


J.M. Coles, E. S. Higgs (1969): The Archaeology of Early Man, New York: Frederick A. Praeger, 1969, p. 286-287.

"Why Neanderthal man began hunting the Cave Bear is not certain. It was a formidable animal, standing more than eight feet tall when reared in anger, and must have been a dangerous foe. It also lived in much more inaccessible places than most of the other fame. Nevertheless, it was hunted - perhaps to fulfill an early hunting ritual. Discovery of bear skulls stacked in a stone chest in Drachenloch, Switzerland, supports this idea; the heads may have been trophies."


Lewis Binford (1981): Bones: Ancient Men and Modern Myths, New York: Academic Press, 1981, p. 10. A citation of F. C. Howell.


See also


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