Sunday, March 8, 2015
Cannibalism and Human Sacrifice in the Virgins' Cave, Tiefenellern, Bavaria
In 1951 two local treasure hunters decided to dig in the cave and see what they might turn up. They found no gold, but they did find pottery and human bones. Word of this illicit dig reached the authorities, and they chased off the amateurs. Over the next few years a professional excavation was carried out under the direction of Dr. Otto Kunkel from the Bayerischen Landesamtes für Denkmalpflege. The archaeologists found pottery dating to the every period from the early Neolithic to the Middle Ages. They also found a great quantity of human bones.
How did the stories of headless spinsters come to be associated with this place? Did one of the medieval visitors dig into the floor, perhaps in search of treasure, and find a headless skeleton, or just a mass of bones with no skulls? That seems the most likely explanation. But how astonishing that this place where women and children may have been sacrificed and eaten 7000 years ago came to be known as the Virgins' Cave.