Sunday, 31 July 2011

crawlspace or urban spelunking

Via the superlative BLDGBLOG, Der Spiegel (auf englisch) reports on a persistent mystery that’s been buried and forgotten in locations all over Bavaria. There are hundreds of discovered ancient stone passageways tunneled into the earth, mostly impossibly narrow and tight, in farmers’ fields, under churchyards and in towns, that have been described with such creative names as Schrazelloch ("goblin hole") and Alraunenhöhle ("mandrake cave"), because locals believed that they were the mines of dwarves and oubliettes of elves—since no one can really say what the purpose of these articifical caves were.

Though known of for a long time, with similar phenomena occurring in other parts of Europe, curators are only now taking interest in studying them, speculating on their functions from emergency food storage, like a fall-out shelter, refuge from marauders, like a panic-room but being impracticably small, others have interpreted them to have had spiritual significance. These Erdstall catacombs are never documented as being built prior and throughout the Medieval period—only their slow, accidental discovery, and maybe were the meditation chambers of a mystery-cult. No one knows, but perhaps the attention will lead to more finds, and maybe there’s something to be found down in the underground of Bad Karma.