The Forgotten Pyramid of Sternenfels

Sternenfels coat of arms and rock niche in an old quarry

Sternenfels is the northernmost municipality in the Enzkreis district in southwest Germany. With fewer than 3,000 inhabitants, it lies in a picturesque hilly landscape and offers tranquil surroundings.

At first glance, this location might seem not very exciting. Yet, to a geologist, it marks the watershed between the Rhine and Neckar rivers. Historians, on the other hand, may be interested in the remains of medieval quarries, long since abandoned, and the ruins of a medieval castle, of which only a defensive wall and a moat remain.

But for those willing to look beyond the surface and approach with an open mind, this place holds secrets that go beyond the ordinary.

Sternenfels = “Star Rock”

A hint of what it could be lies in the village’s coat of arms, which is derived from the family crest of the Lords of Sternenfels, the mentioned castle’s former inhabitants. Originally called the Lords of Kürnbach, they moved to Sternenfels in the early 13th century. Although the origin of the community’s name remains unknown, its visual representation is something that instantly captures one’s attention. Sternenfels, meaning ‘Star Rock,’ is illustrated as a seven-pointed star sitting on a base, which is clearly recognizable as a three-tiered pyramid.

The Seven-Star holds numerous significances, including in Celtic mythology, where it is believed to have the power to unlock gateways to other realms and dimensions. The concept of the pyramid appears to be quite familiar.

Setting the star aside, what if the coat of arms actually signified the existence of a real pyramid? At first glance, the notion of such a structure, possibly thousands of years old and located in Germany, might appear highly improbable.

Coat of arms of Sternenfels

An Ancient Pyramid in an Abandoned Quarry?

And yet, amateur archaeologists have uncovered a vast structure within such an abandoned quarry not far from the village, officially regarded as merely a collection of spoil heaps from former quarry operations. Private excavations that began in the early 1990s have uncovered evidence challenging the validity of the spoil heap theory.

The outlines of a monument emerged, measuring approximately 150m by 150m and standing 40 meters tall, showcasing a distinct three-tiered structure. Atop these tiers sit immense, mound-like formations, seemingly crafted from countless pieces of dry stone walling.

The largest of these, a mound on the third tier, stands 20 meters tall with a steep 54-degree incline. Hidden beneath a thick layer of humus and vegetation, partial excavation has revealed several findings, including masonry that forms right angles and a stone staircase ascending the structure.

The effort expended to create what was presumed to be just a spoil heap, which also appears far too large for a profitable quarry operation, strains credibility. While stone extraction has undoubtedly occurred over the centuries, it likely focused on plundering these pre-existing structures. Therefore, today, only remnants of the former mounds are visible on the first and second tiers.

For copyright reasons, I’m sharing a link to a PDF document created by the original explorer rather than embedding excerpts directly into this post. This PDF contains a comprehensive ground plan of the entire complex. While the document is written in German, the drawing provides substantial insight into the nature of what we are dealing with.

Students from a nearby university conducted geoelectric measurements in the mid-2000s. These measurements revealed cavities within the large mound on the third level, one of which was a central chamber with a height of 5 meters.

Despite their diligent efforts, the researchers could not find the chamber’s entrance before the village administration halted all excavation activities. The ban resulted from internal disputes among the research team and improper, reckless excavation methods that compromised the site’s integrity. The prospect of discovering an alleged Celtic gold treasure probably aroused the greed of individual members, which resulted in intense disputes, culminating in a permanent ban on excavations that remains in effect to this day.

Artificial mounds constructed from countless stones.

It’s a pity, because an archaeological sensation could be waiting here, so close and yet now so unattainable. Today, nature has reclaimed much of what was once uncovered, leaving little evidence of the past excavations. However, a search on the internet and YouTube should reveal images of the site’s condition immediately following the initial digs.

It should be noted that all attempts by the discoverer to persuade the official archaeological community with presented evidence that this site is much more than an ancient quarry have failed. To this day, there seems to be no public interest in digging deeper into this matter, in the truest sense of the word.

Little remains visible from the once extensive excavations.

Decorated Rock Faces

The terraced complex is surrounded by rock faces, the supposed walls of the old quarry.

On closer inspection, it is not difficult to imagine that the walls must once have been covered over and over with meticulously chiseled hatching. To be more precise, it is only the north and south walls that show such traces of chiseling. Erosion and, no doubt, later quarrying have left only fragments.

The hatching is so even and carefully executed that it can be assumed that it is not typical demolition marks, but rather deliberate decorations.

Hatched rock faces

A Sacred Water Well or an Entrance to the Pyramid?

Opposite the large mound on the third tier, a deep niche has been hewn into the bedrock, which some believe might have served as a well shrine. Others speculate it might have been a now sealed entrance to the pyramid mound. Regrettably, two significant stone steles previously found at this place have been stolen meanwhile.

Here too, the entire adjacent wall is strikingly covered with hatch patterns.

Was this once a sacred well or an entrance to the pyramid?

Another Enigmatic Quarry Nearby

Just a kilometer away, another intriguing abandoned quarry awaits exploration. It’s a must-visit spot when touring the Sternenfels Pyramid.

Besides a handful of man-made mounds, which again are officially classified as spoil heaps, the quarry does not possess structures that match the scale of those found in Sternenfels.

Tucked away at the back of the site, a mysterious rock carving captures the imagination. Carved into a cliff face, it features a human-shaped hollow topped by a pyramid, which is embellished with an eye and a seven-pointed star, all intricately crafted.

The origins and creators of this artifact remain unknown. It’s possible that the sarcophagus-like structure predates the symbols adorning it. The rituals once performed here, their practitioners, and the question of their continuation into the present day are shrouded in mystery. It appears that someone regularly takes the effort to keep the area by the rock face clear of overgrowth.

The existence of two enormous stone blocks, located mere meters away from the rock carving, further underscores the distinctiveness of this site. These stones, evoking the image of an altar, amplify the mystical atmosphere of the site.

Another old quarry not far from the Sternenfels pyramid complex

Video

Impressions from the described locations

Map

Sternenfels in Southwest Germany

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