It is a historic, romantic place that would have provided a perfect template for the painter Caspar David Friedrich.

Anyone who completes the three-kilometer ascent to the Großer Mannstein from the Kelkheim train station and makes eye contact with the Altkönig at the foot of the rock will sense the importance of this view over the entire plain up to the Celtic ramparts on the opposite hill for the people in times of the Early and prehistory should have had.

Small earth walls about 80 centimeters high near the Mannstein are still visible.

It is still unclear whether there were watchtowers.

Heike Lattka

Correspondent for the Rhein-Main-Zeitung for the Main-Taunus-Kreis.

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However, the researchers have identified around 100 soil anomalies in an area of ​​three square kilometers around the Großer Mannstein.

For a few days, the archaeologist Jens Schneider and his colleagues from Spau GmbH from Munzenberg have been out and about on the Staufen with GPS support to shed some light on the darkness and to chronologically arrange all those finds and excavations that the mountain has been since the late 18th century. Century has released.

Illuminate the earth

Who once watched behind the piled-up ramparts on the Großer Mannstein, which in ancient times was a woodless plateau? Was it already the Celts or maybe the Romans? The geomagnetic prospecting, financed with 12,000 euros by the Rhine-Main Regional Fund, is intended to underpin the “nebulous Kelkheim legends” surrounding the excursion destination with scientific facts, as Kelkheim's cultural advisor Beate Matuschek hopes. According to Schneider, the archaeologists want to present their results from Kelkheim at the beginning of next year.

A good two weeks ago the early observers were already out and about on the Hühnerberg, a commercial area in Fischbach.

Geomagnetic measurements were made in the open field and are currently being evaluated.

If there are pits, rectangular trenches or even remains of walls in the ground from ancient times, they could be traced using this method, explained Schneider.

Clay vessel with 150 Celtic coins

With the investigations on the Hühnerberg or the Staufen, the archaeologists are following the recommendations of their colleague Michael Sturm-Berger, who has just published a publication on the archaeological finds in Kelkheim under the title “Stone tools, burial mounds and ice bars”. Sturm-Berger, like his Fischbacher Mistreiter Horst Weber, is considered to be the best expert on Kelkheim's prehistory and early history. Finds from past centuries also show the researchers the way. Kelkheim's cultural advisor reported that Upper Palaeolithic tools were found in the vicinity of the Hühnerberg, which indicated that people would rest or live. The raw materials used for this did not come from the Taunus region, which testifies to the mobility and trade of the hunter-gatherer cultures of that time.These "readable archives in the ground" would now have to be chronologically arranged.

However, according to Schneider, no geomagnetic investigations like in the open field on the Hühnerberg are possible around the Großer Mannstein, wooded and with hilly, often impassable subsoil. The devices are too sensitive for that, and the man stone also acts as a kind of interference field due to its magnetism. But the area is well examined by the lidar method of the State Office for Surveying and Geoinformation. With this radar-related method, aircraft equipped with special lasers fly over an area and mark any topographical changes through the treetops. The three-dimensional laser scanning makes ravines, but also ramparts visible in their entirety. The archaeologists use this form of mapping for their research, which is being followed with particularly great interest in Kelkheim.Finally, not too long ago a clay pot with 150 Celtic coins was found on the Staufen slope above the Kleiner Mannstein, which could be evidence of the Celtic origin of the ramparts.

However, Schneider dampens such expectations for the time being: So far, given the data, it is only certain that there were Köhler plateaus on the Staufen - but at best they came from the Middle Ages.

If nothing comes of the Celtic heritage, the Gagern memorial plaque on the Großer Mannstein will comfort you at any time.

It was there that the three brothers Heinrich, Friedrich and Max took their Staufen oath for brotherhood and a united German fatherland, which has been documented in history books, on a hike in 1838.