Megalithic Ruins Around The Katzenstein

The Katzenstein

Today, I find myself near Liebenzell Castle in the Northern Black Forest of Southwest Germany. It’s no secret that the presence of a medieval castle often hints at one or more sites of prehistoric ceremonial significance nearby.

These sites are then frequently attributed to the Celts or Romans whats implies that some of them are officially designated as ancient sites, whereas others are not formally recognized. The remnants of the latter are then only subtly detectable by those with a discerning and unbiased eye. It seems to be the same situation here. There is no official evidence suggesting a prehistoric background. This means the search is left to one’s own intuition. However, in this instance, describing the traces as ‘subtly’ detectable seems to be quite an understatement as you will see.

The surrounding forest is home to numerous rock formations, hinting at a megalithic history. These features might not immediately bring the Celts to mind, suggesting instead a past that stretches back maybe even long further. According to official views though, such a history should not exist in Germany, or specifically in this region.

My destination is the so-called Katzenstein (Cat’s Rock), a captivating rock formation situated on a steep mountainside. During my hike, I encounter a variety of fascinating spots.

A Massive Standing Stone Near Liebenzell Castle

This blog post will not focus on the Castle of Liebenzell itself. Instead, the latter just serves as a hint that something more intriguing is located in the vicinity.

And indeed, less than 500 meters from the castle to the North, nestled on a wooded slope, lies a kind of sea of rocks. This area is dotted with individual sandstone boulders, many of which boast strangely symmetrical shapes, just like building blocks from a giant’s toy set. Some of them are arranged in peculiar formations.

One such arrangement immediately catches the eye: a standing stone slab, perhaps 3 meters high, that appears to be intentionally propped on one side. The rocks directly behind and beside it also exhibit an unusual artificiality. It is reasonable to assume that this ensemble did not come into existence naturally. I believe I am looking at the first tangible traces of a true megalithic past in this wooded area.

Rock arrangement around a massive standing stone

A Megalithic Ruin Field

As I venture further north, the landscape reveals more rock formations that appear almost too extraordinary to be natural. What kind of ruins lie before me, and how ancient might they be?

In one location, an implied six-pointed star has been etched into a rock, serving as a spiritual emblem associated with ancient goddess worship, among other interpretations. This suggests that I am not the only one nowadays who perceives these seemingly naturally eroded boulders as something entirely different.

Megalithic ruins or natural erosion?

‘Moby Dick’ Rock

Though I’m sure I haven’t explored every nook among these scattered rocks, my tour now advances towards the Katzenstein.

Before arriving at my destination, I pause at the landmark known as ‘Moby Dick’ rock. This immense boulder, possibly another artificial megalith, stands alone beside the trail. Its shape indeed bears a resemblance to a beached whale, which explains its name. Beyond this, not much is known about it. At its base, a large, rectangular slab of stone is noticeable, seemingly trapped under the colossal rock.

Moby Dick Rock

The Katzenstein Rock Formation

Arriving at the Katzenstein, it presents a rather menacing appearance, especially as I approach it from below, climbing the steep incline. Somehow, it conveys the appearance of layers of stone artificially piled upon each other, forming an unstable structure that seems on the verge of collapsing at any moment.

Regarding the artificial nature of the site, I’m likely not entirely wrong, as we will see once I reach the top.

The Katzenstein

Remains of an Ancient Structure

Initially, I climb up the hillside, navigating alongside the rock formation until I arrive at its ‘roof’.

What reveals itself to me, partially hinted at from below, are the unmistakable artificial remnants of a structure that once stood here. Its purpose and age remain mysteries. However, one thing is clear: these are not the results of natural erosion.

Atop the Katzenstein rock formation

The Megalithic Base of the Katzenstein

On the other side, I then descend another steep path until I reach the base of the formation.

Behind a rock outcrop, a plateau opens up, flanked by peculiar rock walls, forming a sort of pulpit. I can envision the expansive view that would unfold across the valley, were it not for today’s dense forestation. It strikes me as an ideal location for an ancient sacred site.

Down here at the base, I’m almost at a loss for words again. What catches the eye immediately is a section in a rock face, a sort of shaft where six massive stone blocks have been carefully stacked on top of each other. The mismatched seams of the walls to the right and left make it clear that this couldn’t have been the work of nature.

The rock wall on the left also appears strangely artificial in its layering, though I hesitate to make a definitive judgment here. However, it seems that at least some form of shaping or smoothing of this front has indeed taken place.

The wall on the right suggests that the entire structure once teetered on the brink of collapse. A huge block, apparently having tumbled from above, appears to be supported by an ancient tree. Another large block precariously remains at the top, perched on the edge.

The center of the pulpit is dominated by another massive block, which likely also plummeted from above at some point. What kind of force must have been at play here to have shaken the entire structure so vigorously?

The base of the Katzenstein formation

Bottom Line

The ultimate question after this excursion, as it often is, revolves around whether my imagination was and still is playing tricks on me, making me see what I had wished to see, or if the reality in front of me was exactly what it appeared to be: the remnants of a genuine megalithic structure, likely predating the Celtic era.

If this is the case, however, why does the obvious seem to garner no interest in public?


Impressions from the area


The Katzenstein and surroundings near Liebenzell Castle

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