Photographer's Note

Externsteine (2009)

The Externsteine [ˈɛkstɐnʃtaɪnə] are a distinctive rock formation located in the Teutoburger Wald region of northwestern Germany, not far from the city of Detmold at Horn-Bad Meinberg. The formation consists of several tall, narrow columns of rock which rise abruptly from the surrounding wooded hills. The name probably means "stones of the Egge".

Externsteine is a natural outcropping of five sandstone pillars, the tallest of which is 37.5 meters high and form a wall of several hundred meters length, in a region that is otherwise largely devoid of rocks. The pillars have been modified and decorated by humans over the centuries. The geological formation consists of a hard, erosion-resistant sandstone, laid down during the early Cretaceous era about 120 million years ago, near the edge of a large shallow sea that covered large parts of Northern Europe at the time.

It is generally assumed that Externsteine was a center of religious activity for the Teutonic peoples and their predecessors prior to the arrival of Christianity in northern Europe. This notion can be traced back to Hermann Hamelmann (1564).

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