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Gnandsteiner Bandjaspis

"Banded jasper"

Material name: Gnandsteiner Bandjaspis
Synonyms: Wolftitzer Quarzporphyr, Gnandsteiner Bandstein
Material (geologic): Permian (Rotliegende) silicified tuff or ignimbrite

Flake of material
Foto: Matthias Rummer, 2001

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General characteristics

(In part adapted from Name year and Name year)

  As we are redesigning the navigation for this region, this preliminary page is meant to give you in the meantime an impression of the locality and the material therefrom.
Geographical setting: N/A
Material and colour: At the moment of writing, lacking further petrological examination, we are a bit unsure about the precise character of the material. In some publications the material is classified as 'silicified tuff', in others as quartz porphyry. Macroscopically it can be either as the material consists of an extremely fine matrix with very small inclusions of what appear to be quartz grains. The colours are very lively greenish grey and pale red to red and finely banded. When the material is patinated, the reddish hues disappear and the stone becomes a finely striped green (see below).
It is very similar to a, also Permian, ignimbrite from Baden-Baden, where we have a more precise geological setting. Here the origin is given as a tuff that has been baked together during or shortly after the eruption (Trunko 1984). We suspect a very similar process for the material from Streitwald/Gnandstein, especially as the geologic age is extremely similar.
Other information: The material is known from one very small and heavily dug into exposure only. The same formations are mapped on the geological map in a much larger area, but don't seem to be accessible anywhere. This situation will probably have been very similar during the last few thousand years. If there has been any active mining in prehistory, it will be perfectly obliterated by the recent pillaging of the site.
Knapping notes: The texture of the ignimbrite is very similar to that of a very fine and dense quartzite like Skršin and flakes accordingly. The banding has no effect on the direction or 'run' of the fracture.
Archaeological description: The "Gnandsteiner Bandjaspis" is long known as a stone age raw material, at least since the beginning of the 20th century. Most artefacts come from a region of about 40 kilometers around the primary occurrence, but recent discoveries show the material to have a somewhat greater distribution towards the East. Nearly all finds, at least those identified as this type of material, are polished axes from surface collections without any further dating context, but of presumably later Neolithic age. Only one site with a larger collection of debitage, about two kilometers from the sampled site, is known and is thought to date to the earlier Stone Age. A quick inspection of this assemblage at the regional archaeological service in Dresden however, gave us the impression that this material was the result of the preparation of rough outs for axes, rather than a paleolithic knapping site.
We hope that, as this raw material becomes better known, a better picture of its distribution will become available.

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Locality: Streitwald, Leipziger Land, Saxony, Germany
Synonyms: N/A
Geographical description: The primary source lies in heavily wooded, hilly country between the cities of Leipzig and Chemnitz in Saxony, Germany.
Geographical co-ordinates: Lat. 51 02' N
Long. 12 35' E
Co-ordinate precision: As we were unpleasantly surprised by the devastation we found at the one and only accessible exposure known, we are not going to encourage any other (unserious) collectors and rockhounds to plunder this site any more. The coordinates are enough to give an impression where the material occurs, if you want to know more about the exact location of this site, please contact our .
Other topographical information: For more information how to get to this site, please contact our .
Additional information: Recent diggings on sampling site
Foto: Rengert Elburg, 2001
  As you can see in the picture above, the site has been badly damaged by illegal diggings. All the greenish material in the foreground is reworked ignimbrite. The primary banks are nowhere directly exposed, but lie presumably directly under the surface. Apart from the recent holes, no indication of prehistoric extraction is recognizable.
Visitors information: As we sampled this site on a day trip out of Dresden, we weren't forced to inspect the local infrastructure any further, but what we saw on our way didn't make us eager to do so.
The nearby castle of Burg Gnandstein seems to be the only place worthwhile to visit in the area.
Sampling information: N/A
Size of flake: 50 mm.
For a full-blown picture of this sample, click here (71 KBytes).
Flake of typical banded material from Gnandstein
Foto: Matthias Rummer, 2001
Old surface: weathering turns red into green
Foto: Matthias Rummer, 2001
Width of piece: 80 mm
For a full-blown version of this picture, click here (57 KBytes).
Size: 35 mm.
For a full-blown picture of this sample, click here (67 KBytes).
very red, slightly coarser material
Foto: Matthias Rummer, 2001
Sample description: The top left hand picture shows a typical flake with red banding in a green matrix. Towards the top the lighter zone shows the effect of patination. The other picture in the top row shows a very finely laminated piece where all red hues have disappeared.
The reddish piece is a bit coarser and at the edges shows again the effect of patination.


Last modified on:
December 25, 2001
Contents primarily by:
Rengert Elburg & Andreas Kinne
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