Museum of Prehistory Blaubeuren

The caves on the southern edge of the Swabian Alb are among the most important Palaeolithic sites in the world. Here, 40,000 years ago, early modern humans not only developed new tool techniques, but also created animal and human figurines made of mammoth ivory, which are the oldest known works of art of humankind.
In addition to Ice Age art, finds of musical instruments and a great multitude of Ice Age jewellery also attest to the new self-confidence of modern humans.
The Museum of Prehistory Blaubeuren (Urgeschichtliches Museum Blaubeuren, "URMU") is the central museum for Ice Age art and music. The world's unique works of art are presented thematically in treasure chambers.
The museum is located in the heart of the UNESCO World Heritage Site "Caves and Ice Age Art in the Swabian Jura".

Exhibition room on music and sound, in the foreground a flute in a showcase
Sound space © URMU

Art & Music

The oldest figurative art – a female figure made of mammoth ivory from the Hohle Fels – as well as the oldest musical instruments made of mammoth ivory and bird bones are not only the highlights in the exhibition, but also unique worldwide.

Animal Figures

The animal and human figures of the Aurignacian of southwestern Germany make up a unique assemblage of the oldest art in Europe. These figures come from four cave sites on the Swabian Alb: Vogelherd and Hohlenstein-Stadel in the Lone Valley and Geißenklösterle and Hohle Fels in the Ach Valley.

The animal sculptures are made primarily out of ivory. Large and impressive animals such as mammoth and bison, as well as swift and dangerous animals like lions, play a special role in this art. One of the most impressive pieces of the southwest German Aurignacian is the Water Bird from the Hohle Fels.

Water Bird figure from Hohle Fels Cave
Water Bird from Hohle Fels © URMU


Jewellery has a long tradition among humans. The first pieces of jewellery originated in Africa and were made by modern people over 100,000 years ago. In Europe, humans have been using jewellery as a sign of identity and group membership for over 42,000 years. In contrast to evidence of art and music, jewellery is much more common. Each region has developed its own particular forms of jewellery. Thus, even regional groups and possibly language boundaries can be identified in the Upper Palaeolithic.

Humans were quite inventive in their choice of jewellery materials; they used shells, ammonites, mammoth ivory, bones and animal teeth. Technically, great efforts were made for the production of beads, pendants and clothing trimmings. The fine workmanship of the surfaces of the objects is striking. Each archaeological cultural epoch developed its own standard forms and preferred a certain range of materials. In the Swabian Aurignacian, for example, hundreds of double-hole beads were made of mammoth ivory.

different jewelry made of different materials
Jewellery © URMU

Femaleness – the Venus from Hohle Fels

The Venus from Hohle Fels is actually the oldest figurine of a woman made by humankind. The statuette is around 40,000 years old and was carved from mammoth ivory.

The Venus broke to pieces during the time she laid in the sediment. Six fragments could be put together to a pretty complete figurine. Instead of the head there is a thread guide at the neck. The Venus from Hohle Fels was once carried as a pendant, probably as an amulet. The over-exaggerated sexual characteristics are an eye catcher. The breast is exuberant and strongly protruded. The pubic with the open vulva is clearly visible and the waist is comparatively slender.

The Venus figurine as displayed in the museum
Venus from Hohle Fels © URMU

Sound Spaces – the Flutes from Geissenklösterle and Hohle Fels

The earliest evidence of musical instruments is about 40,000 years old. They are flutes made of bird bones and mammoth ivory. They were excavated in the caves of the Ach and Lone Valley on the southern rim of the Swabian Alb.

With these musical instruments, man created self-designed sound spaces for the first time. These are quite a contrast to the surrounding sounds of nature, which cannot be controlled by humans. Flutes provide expressions that go far beyond the possibilities of singing. But it is not only the originals and their possible sound spectra that are presented at the museum, but also the manufacturing process and the skills required, which illustrates the interplay of technical and cultural evolution. Another aspect is conveyed in a dance room where visitors have to move or dance to produce sounds from a mammoth ivory flute – because the result, whether for social interaction or individual expression, does not end with the object.

Exhibition room presenting the manufacturing process of prehistoric flutes
Transformation © URMU

The Prehistoric Toolkit

The tool technology of modern humans covered a wide range of materials, but also of tool types. They used bone, mammoth ivory, antler, stone and wood to make blades, piercing sticks, scrapers and much more, which they in turn used to make clothing, bags, further tools and weapons. Plant fibres and the strings and baskets made from them are also presented. A development that resulted from the technical skills of the first modern humans and the available raw materials, some of which were severely affected by the extreme climatic changes of the time.

Exhibition room presenting different types of tools, some of them can be touched
Exhibition room with different types of tools © URMU


Urgeschichtliches Museum Blaubeuren
Kirchplatz 10
89143 Blaubeuren

Getting there

The museum is located in the city centre of Blaubeuren.

By car
On B28 Ulm – Bad Urach to Blaubeuren. At the traffic light at the railway station turn in the direction of "Zentrum / Urgeschichtliches Museum"

By public transport
Train: direct connection from Ulm Main Station, 15 min walk to the museum

The museum building
Urgeschichtliches Museum Blaubeuren. © URMU

Hours & Admission

For opening hours and admission prices, please see the museum website.


The museum is fully accessible for strollers and wheelchairs.


The museum shop offers books, replicas and souvenirs.

A guided tour at the Brillenhöhle Cave

A guided tour at the Brillenhöhle Cave © URMU

Close up of two hands carving wood

Making knives at a museum workshop © URMU

A group poses in front of a large format 3D effect painting on the subject of mammoth hunting

Fun at the "tricture" about mammoth hunting © URMU

Programmes and Activities

Guided Tours
Our tour guides lead you through the Stone Age from the cave to the valley and show, how Stone Age man lived in our region from the beginning til the end of the last glaciation. You will see and hear the oldest art and the oldest musical instruments of the whole world. They also lead you to a cave where Stone Age man lived.

Stone Age Workshops
Our Stone Age workshops offer programmes for all ages with different materials and on various themes. Based on experimental archaeology you will work with Stone Age tools and techniques. This way you will experience the life of our ancestors.

Holiday programmes for families
During summer season we open our Stone Age Workshop every Saturday and Sunday, while it is open from Tuesday to Sunday during Easter, Pentecost and Summer holidays.

Permanent offers
At the museum shop you can buy little sets, with which you can experience Stone Age working yourself.


The “Pearl of the Swabian Alb” is located near Ulm in the Blau Valley.

Among others it is famous for the so-called Blautopf ("Blue Pot"), the most beautiful karstic spring in Germany. Its funnel-shaped pool is about 21 metres deep and has an intensive blue appearance.
Next to the Blautopf you find a perfectly preserved monastery. The choir stalls of the monastery church with the double winged gothic High Altar is one of the most important cultural monuments of the Middle Ages.
The historic city centre of Blaubeuren is regarded as one of the best preserved medieval town centres in the country.
But it is not only the medieval appearance of the town that makes this region special: The surrounding area also invites visitors on a picturesque hiking or cycling tour. A tour through the Ach Valley is particularly worthwhile, as you pass three of the six caves of the UNESCO World Heritage “Caves and Ice Age Art in the Swabian Jura”: the Geißenklösterle, the Sirgenstein and the Hohle Fels.

View of Marktstraße street in Blaubeuren with timbered houses

Blaubeuren - Marktstraße with Blautopfbähnle © Stadt Blaubeuren

View of karstic spring Blautopf and monastery church in the background

Blautopf and monastery church © URMU