Solnhofen is known for the 10 Archeopteryx prehistoric birds that have been found here. The first feather was found in 1860, and the first Archeopteryx was found in 1861. In the Jura Museum in Eichstätt and the Bürgermeister Müller museum in Solnhofen you can see the original fossil birds.
The Solnhofen limestone was named after the village of Solnhofen in the Altmühltal valley. This limestone is exposed in a large area around the village. Many villages in the area have their own commercial quarries. The limestone is used for building material.
The limestone from the upper Jurassic period occurs in the area between Weißenburg, Regensburg, Nürnberg and Ingolstadt.
In the Altmühltal there are several museums, where you can learn about the geology and see the fossils found in this area. More than 800 species of plants and animals have been found in the Plattenkalk from the Jurassic period.
The limestone is not very rich in fossils. Only the industrial scale of the exploitation results in large numbers of fossils. Everybody can try his luck in one of the quarries in the area.
The Altmühltal is also very worthwhile for its museums. Here a list with the most important museums:
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Blumenberg quarry at Eichstätt. Photo: H. David Gilliland
Added by: admin on 22-03-2012
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Solnhofen is located northwest of Munich in southern Germany. The following quarries and locations are worth a visit: :
- Road Weißenburg - Eichstatt
We left this area and headed on to Eichstätt and Blumenberg quarry. In all cases before this, entry into the mine and areas has been free as these are not tourist areas. Many of the mines you will see on the way are abandoned or accessible during weekends for free. I stopped and checked along this route over eight abandoned mines some of which I had to go off the main road to get to so plenty of hunting available in the area
- Quarry Am Blumenberg near Eichstätt (paid access, 2006: 2 euro)
The quarry is accessible via the B13 Weißenburg to Eichstätt. Follow the signs (the fossil fish) to Museum Berger. The museum is small but well worth the effort. Good search possibilties.
- quarry Solnhofer Bruch just south of Solnhofen (paid access, 2006: 2,50 euro)
- quarry near Schamhaupten (Altmannstein) located along the Neustadt - Beilngries road.
- Titting-Erkertshofen-Petersbuch: In this triangle the sediments are rich in fossils. In Titting follow signs 'Fossiliensammelnplatz'. You follow road 'Galgenberg'. Follow the road to the top. At your right is the dump of Jurassic limestone (Upper Jurassic, lower Kimmeridgian)rocks. Here you can find ammonites (up to 10 cm.), belemnites and bivalves. Just split the rocks. Friendly locality fos children.
- Schernfeld: In direction Eichstätt you arrive in Schernfeld on top of the hill. The quarry is at your left (see photo). Sometimes paid access. The limestones are from the Tithonian (part of the Jurassic period). You can find Saccocoma sp., fishes, ammonites, bivalves and larvae of crabfish. Best finds in horizontal slabs.
- Mühlheim Visitors quarry. After payment you can collect ammonites, shrimps, fish, and belemnites. See Website.
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Various fossils from the Jurassic period: plants, mollusks, fishes (i.e. Leptolepis sprattiformis), lobsters, crinoids, and insects.
There are 17 photographs of fossils from this location in our Fossil ID System.
Go to the Solnhofen Species List to identify your own finds!
Literature recommended by members
- K.A. Frickhinger, 1994: Die Fossilien von Solnhofen, Band 1, Goldschneck Verlag
De fossielen van Solnhofen in 600 afbeeldingen
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- K.A. Frickhinger, 1999: Die Fossilien von Solnhofen, Band 2, Goldschneck Verlag
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Other locations in the area
Fossil location: Ammelhofen
Fossil location: Bischberg
Fossil location: Sengenthal
Mineral location: Solnhofen (Solnhofer Bruch)
Museum: Burgermeister Müller Museum
Museum: Fossilien und Steindruck Museum
Museum: Jura-Museum Eichsätt
Museum: Museum Bergér
Museum: Naturhistorisches Museum Nürnberg
Thanks to H. David Gilliland for his contribution to this description.
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