General Information

Excavation Name: Ochtendung - excavation 1986-1990

Assigned Excavator(s): Antje Justus

Date of Excavation: 1986-1990

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History: The site was discovered 1985 by Karl-Heinz and Andreas Urmersbach, who found animal bones and stone artefacts in the loess-infill of a crater ("Wannenvulkan"), which has been exposed during lava-mining activities. Excavations took place 1986, 1987, 1989 and 1990 by Antje Justus. They revealed few Middle Palaeolithic stone artefacts (silex, quartz, and quarzite) and abundant animal remains (rhinoceros, elefant, reindeer, saiga-antelope, deer, lion, and brown-bear). The assemblage proves repeated, longer-term human presence at the site. (see Ochtendung 1986-1990, excavated areas) (Justus 2000: Fig. 2).

Location of the excavation: The excavation of the site Ochtendung 1986-1990 is located at the base of the eastern bank of the crater of the volcano "Wannen" or "In den Wannen", which is part of the volcano-group near Ochtendung. Situated in a tectonic mould, a package of several meters thickness from the former infill of the chimney was preserved. These glacial loess-sediments, stratified through volcanic sediment layers, contained the Middle Palaeotithic archaeological remains. The excavated area is about 140m².

Geology: The genesis of the volcano-group ("Wannengruppe") could be absolutely dated posterior to 215 000 +/- 4 000 yrs. ("Wehrer Bims I", Hüttenbergtephra), resp. 235 000 +/- 3 500 yrs. (scoria of the cones "Im Wannen, Großer Wannenkopf"). These dates place it in the second last interglatial (OIS stage 7). (Justus 2000: 162 f.) The accumulation of the Loess sediments in the moulds can be consequently accorded to the two following glaciations, the second last and the last.

Stratigraphy: The ideal profile contains at least seven main layers (I-VII) (see also Frechen & Justus 1998). The top is covered by pumice from the Laacher-See eruption, the base is the massive in-situ lava. The layers can be grouped in three main chronological sections: The upper portion (pumice-covering and layer I), layers II/III and layers IV-VIII. Ideal profile (Justus 2000: Abb. 4).