A network of man-made underground tunnels stretches across Europe

(ORDO NEWS) — From the west of Scotland to the south of Turkey stretches a network of mysterious underground tunnels of obviously man-made origin, which are called “airdstalls”.

Translated from German, this means “earth stall” or “tunnel in a mine.” Until now, researchers have not been able to establish the exact age of these structures.

Some believe that erdstalls were laid about 12,000 years ago, back in the Stone Age, others attribute their appearance to the Middle Ages. But the main thing is that their purpose is not clear.

All over Europe

The fact is that erdstalls have features that distinguish them from other varieties of underground passages. They are very low and narrow, usually oval in shape, can be located both horizontally and vertically, and their length is only 20 to 50 meters.

Also, the tunnels are equipped with “schlufs” (this word, again, translated from German means “slip out”). Schloopfs are very narrow openings (usually 40 centimeters in diameter) that serve as transition points between tunnels located at different heights.

There are about 2,000 erdstalls in Europe. Moreover, most of them are located in Bavaria – these lands account for at least 700 of these tunnels. About 500 more erdstalls are located in neighboring Austria. They are also found in France, Great Britain and some other European countries.

Uncomfortable for humans

But why were they built? As a rule, dungeons in antiquity and the Middle Ages served for secret escapes – for example, so that the inhabitants of a castle or fortress could take refuge during a military raid or uprising.

But the problem is that airstalls have only one entry and exit point, so there was no way to get to any safe place from there.

Some researchers believe that such tunnels could be used as shelters – that is, in order to temporarily hide in them in case of a critical situation.

However, this would be extremely inconvenient due to the narrowness of the passages and the lack of air flow in them.

Another hypothesis claims that some things could be stored in erdstalls. But, again, they are too small in size to serve as warehouses.

In addition, many airstalls are located below the waterline, and in winter they can fill with water. It is unlikely that the builders did not foresee such things, if the tunnels were originally planned to be used as storage for something.

Hideouts for Dwarves and Elves

Meanwhile, the most curious version of the origin of erdstalls claims that they were not built by people at all, but by creatures from European folklore – gnomes, elves or kobolds.

It is not for nothing that in some places they are called “Shrazelloch” (“goblin’s hole”) or “Alraunenhöle” (“mandrake cave”).

Mythical entities either lived in tunnels or used them to move underground.

Although – one small detail – the airstall networks are not connected to each other. That is, you can move inside one complex of tunnels, but from there you cannot go to another. So questions remain…

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