The discovery of the Mauer 1 mandible shows that ancient humans are present in Germany at least 600,000 years ago. The oldest complete hunting weapons found anywhere in the world are discovered in a coal mine in Schöningen where three 380,000 year old wooden javelins about 2 meters long are unearthed. The Neander Valley is the location where the first ever non-modern human fossil are discovered; the new species of human is named Neanderthal man. The Neanderthal 1 fossils are known to be 40,000 years old. Evidence of modern humans similarly dated are found in caves in the Swabian Jura near Ulm. The finds include 42,000 year old bird bone and mammoth ivory flutes which are the oldest musical instruments ever found; the 40,000 year old Ice Age Lion Man which is the oldest uncontested figurative art ever discovered; and the 35,000 year old Venus of Hohle Fels which is the oldest uncontested human figurative art ever discovered. The Nebra sky disk is a bronze artifact created during the European Bronze Age attributed to a site near Nebra, Saxony-Anhalt. It is part of the UNESCO Memory of the World Register.

The Deutscher Bund (German Confederation) is a loose association of 39 German states in Central Europe that the Congress of Vienna creates in 1815 to coordinate the economies of separate German-speaking countries and to replace the former Holy Roman Empire. The Confederation is weak and ineffective as well as an obstacle to German nationalist aspirations. It collapses due to the rivalry between Prussia and Austria, warfare, the 1848 revolution, and the inability of the multiple members to compromise. It dissolves with Prussian victory in the Seven Weeks’ War and the establishment of the North German Confederation in 1866. The dispute between the two dominant member states of the confederation, Austria and Prussia, over which has the inherent right to rule German lands ends in favor of Prussia after the Austro-Prussian War in 1866 and the collapse of the confederation. This results in the creation of the North German Confederation with a number of south German states remaining independent although allied first with Austria (until 1867) and subsequently with Prussia (until 1871) after which they became a part of the new German Empire.

The obsolete units of measurement of German-speaking countries consist of a variety of units with varying local standard definitions. Some of these units are still used in everyday speech and even in stores and on street markets as shorthand for similar amounts in metric units. Some customers ask for ein Pfund (one pound) of something when they want exactly 500 grams. Some obsolete German units have names similar to units that had been traditionally used in other countries and that are still used in the United Kingdom and the United States. Almost every town has its own unit definitions prior to German metrication. Towns would often post the local definitions on a wall of city hall. The front wall of the old Rudolfestat city hall (still standing) has two marks which show the Rudolstädter Elle. Supposedly by 1810 in Baden alone there are 112 different standards for the Elle which is a distance between elbow and fingertip. The smallest known German Elle is 402 mm and the longest 811 mm. The metric system became compulsory on 1 January 1872 in Germany.

13 Jul 2015

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