The Exhibition

About 200,000 years is the age of a treasure that archaeologists have rescued over many years from the bucket-wheel excavator in the lignite mine Neumark-Nord near Halle.

In the fossil sediments the remnants of an entire lake habitat are preserved, which illustrate the diversity and unfamiliarity of a bygone primeval world. Today this site is one of the most important sources of information on the Palaeolithic Age in Europe.

copyright: LDA, Foto: Juraj Lipták

The centre of the exhibition is the remains of 70 Eurasian ancient elephants that died in and near the lake. These colossi tower considerably above the body height of modern elephants. Their well-preserved skeletons offer a worldwide unique opportunity to explore the enthralling evolutionary history of these creatures strange to us today. 

Even the scales of the fossil rudd are still recognizable (copyright: LDA / Juraj Lipták)

An interdisciplinary team of scientists investigated the site of Neumark-Nord. To them an almost Mediterranean ecosystem revealed itself, which existed during a warm phase of the Ice Age. The extremely well-preserved remains of exotic animals and an incredible 186 plant species well illustrate the development of a rich magnificence of life.

Particular plants such as the Tatar maple indicate a warm, temperate landscape, similar to southern Europe of today. The terrain offered not only watering places and wallow for the game, but with brine springs also salt licks. 

Various tools attest the presence of prehistoric people - precursors of the Neanderthals - and their intelligent behaviour in this habitat. 

Flint implement from Neumark-Nord 1 (copyright: LDA / Juraj Lipták)

The littoral zones were excellent and frequently visited hunting grounds. Complementary, further important finds will be presented: the approximately contemporaneous human bones from Weimar-Ehringsdorf and the wooden lance from Lehringen, which stuck in the ribcage of an elephant. In these we personally encounter those brave and experienced primeval hunters.

Predators hunted at the lake: Skull of a cave lion (copyright: LDA / Juraj Lipták)

The fauna of the former lake habitat in the Geisel valley most impressively states the otherness of our present day environment ca. 200,000 years ago. From small beetles and blowflies right up to hyenas and cave lions a forgotten diversity of life manifests itself in the heart of Europe.