UIS Commission on Karst Hydrogeology and Speleogenesis
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Karstbase Bibliography Database

Original article
Hasitschka, J.
Der höhlenname ofen
The cave name "Ofen" (oven)
Since the Middle Ages washed out kolks in canyons, cave entrances, rock recesses or overhanging rock walls mainly situated in the Northern Calcareous Alps have been called „Öfen“. They have in common that they look like an ancient vaulted oven to the hollow mould of which they are compared. It is difficult to track topographic-etymologic traces because the concrete names like in Ziegelofenhöhle (brickoven cave) are mixed with abstract, figurative meanings like in Gamsofen (chamois oven). The term Ofen got one further meaning by introducing the speleological term Backofentypus (oven type cave). About 130 Austrian caves with the name of Ofen are analyzed topographically and etymologically, from lime kilns (Kalköfen) in the Prealps up to the mountain peaks of Salz- or Rotofen. The question why the name Ofen in modern language is rarely used or even no longer understood is finally dealt with.
Hasitschka, J., 2012, Der höhlenname ofen , Die Hoehle , 63 , 104 - 115