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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).

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Externsteine

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