Karsthöhle Dienstedt

Oberfeldhöhlen Dienstedt - Dienstedter Karsthöhle

Useful Information

Location: Autobahn A4 Eisenach-Dresden: exits Arnstadt, Erfurt-West or Erfurt-Ost
Autobahn A71 Erfurt-Suhl-Schweinfurt/Bamberg: exit Traßdorf
NE Stadtilm, at the B87 Apolda-Stadtilm-Ilmenau.
(50.8141, 11.17525)
Open: MAY to SEP.
Open days see website.
Fee: Adults EUR 2, Children EUR 1.
Classification: SpeleologyKarst cave
Light: LightIncandescent Electric Light System
Dimension: L=350 m, A=340 m asl, H=90%, T=8 °C.
Guided tours: L=155 m, St=13, D=40 min..
Photography: allowed
Accessibility: no
Bibliography: Siegfried Pfeiffer (1974): Die Oberfeldhöhlen bei Dienstedt im Ilmtal, Der Höhlenforscher 4-1974, S. 55ff. Deutsch - German
Barbara Putschkus (1984): Die Oberfeldhöhlen von Dienstedt, Krs. Arnstadt, Veröffentlichungen des Naturkundemuseums Erfurt, Heft 3: 64-70. Deutsch - German
Address: Dorf- und Heimatverein Dienstedt & Oesteröda e.V., Rudolstädter Straße 54, 99326 Stadtilm/ OT Dienstedt. E-mail:
Touristinformation am Markt (Reformhaus), Markt 12, 99326 Stadtilm, Tel: +49-3629-3860. E-mail:
As far as we know this information was accurate when it was published (see years in brackets), but may have changed since then.
Please check rates and details directly with the companies in question if you need more recent info.


1953 excavated by Felix Gebser from Dienstedt.
1957 bis 1982 excavations.
1969 survey by cavers from Leipzig.
1983 declared a Naturdenkmal (Natural Monument).
1993 developed as a show cave.
1998 opened as a show cave.
2021 maintained by the non-profit Dorf- und Heimatverein Dienstedt & Oesteröda e.V. with the municipality Stadtilm.


The Karsthöhle Dienstedt (karst cave Dienstedt) is located about 1 km northeast of Dienstedt, at the southern slopes of the Schenkhopfenberg, an area which is called Oberfeld. There are three caves, which are also called Oberfeldhöhlen (Upper Field Caves).

A petrified part of a jawbone of a dinosaur was found in the cave. It originates from the limestone, the cave is located in. It is called Muschelkalk in German, a fossil-rich Middle Triassic limestone. The caves are former river caves, located 23 m above the niveau of today's Ilm river. The cave rivers were tributaries to the Ilm, two to five million years ago. The cave shows impressive erosional forms. Very nice solutional profiles were unfortunately partly destroyed by improper development works like artificial tunnels and brick walls.

The cave was used about 4,000 years ago by people from a Celtic culture locally known as Bandkeramiker. This translates Linear Band Pottery, a name given to the people after a pottery style by which they are identified. They left the remains of fireplaces, animal bones, bone tools, and pottery shards. Of special interest are nice findings of awls, needles a well-preserved cup made of burnt clay.

The exploration of the cave was originally initiated by Felix Gebser (*1907-✝1988) from Dienstedt. He was Bodendenkmalpfleger, a honorary position similar to a park ranger in the USA. In the early 1950s he searched around Dienstedt for archaeological remains. After several fruitless excavations, he discovered in 1953 the cave, in which he soon found prehistoric remains. During 25 years the cave was excavated by the Museum für Ur- und Frühgeschichte Weimar, always supported by Mr Gerbser and many other honorary workers. After the archaeological excavations were completed, the cave was developed as a show cave.