Unicorn Cave – Herzberg am Harz, Germany - Atlas Obscura

Unicorn Cave

Herzberg am Harz, Germany

What was once thought to be a wellspring of unicorn bones is actually just a prehistoric burial site. 


The largest cave in Germany’s Harz Mountains, known as Unicorn Cave was discovered in medieval times when the thinking was that the large deposits of strange bones could only belong the mythical horned horse.

The first recorded discovery of the cave occurred in 1541 when it was noted as a source of unicorn artifacts, thus giving the cavern its name. While the fantastically named, 610-meter, cave was filled with bones, they were sadly not of the mythical variety. Modern studies have shown that the bones in the cave are actually from a number of prehistoric animals who took shelter in the large cave. 

From mammoths to ancient cave bears to ancient lions, the remains of over 70 species of beast has been identified from the cave, not one of them belonging to a mystery equine. Excavation has even revealed tools that show prehistoric man also inhabited a portion of the cave sometime in the past. 

However this has not stopped visitors from searching the cave floor for a horse horn that could prove that magic still exists.  

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October 13, 2014

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