Station: [101] Prologue

„We felt giddy looking into the abyss of time,“ said Scottish Natural Researcher and Geologist James Hutton, while he was observing layers of stone in Scotland at the end of the 18th century. And he was talking about a „deep time,“ an unknown dimension up until that point. In his book, „The Theory of the Earth,“ he first distinguished between the human being’s idea of time and the immeasurably long geological expanse of time.

In comparison, 280.000 years of Saxon history is a relatively short period of time. 280.000 years ago the first hunters and gatherers of Saxony left their traces near to a place now called Markkleeberg. This was the time of the early Neanderthal man, the only human being to have originated in Europe. But the history of man is much older. Homo erectus lived in Africa for over 2 million years and as a hunter-gatherer he was able to work with fire and produce simple tools.  With his learned techniques at hand he migrated to Asia and Europe and mastered the extreme temperature fluctuations of the Ice Age.

 We haven’t found any traces of Homo erectus in Saxony, but the Neanderthals were likewise at the mercy of cold and warm periods.  Accompany us into the first part of the exhibition and embark upon a journey through time into the habitat of the early Neanderthals! What did the landscape, the animals and plants look like?  Which tools and weapons did the Neanderthals use?  And how were they different to modern-day human beings in terms of physical appearance, speech, genes and their social and cultural skills?

The second part of the exhibition is dedicated to Homo sapiens who immigrated to Europe over 40,000 years ago and conquered new habitats. He developed innovative techniques and artistic forms of expression and 7500 years ago he also began to change the way the land was worked here in Saxony. The reason for this was his contact to resident farmers and livestock breeders from the Levant.