Holzelfingen (The municipality of Lichtenstein), The county of Reutlingen
The former Stahleck Castle was located in the Zellertal on a steep rock jutting out from the edge of the adjacent plateau. A noble family residing at Stahleck Castle is perhaps first mentioned on April 26, 1254, when a Cunradus de Stahelekke is named as a witness in a document of Count Ulrich von Württemberg. Although the attribution of this Konrad is disputed, the witnesses mentioned in the same context certainly point to a connection with the castle near Lichtenstein. In 1304, a member of the Stahleck family was a nun in the nearby Offenhausen monastery and on April 16, 1322, a Dietrich von Stahleck appears in historical records. It is highly probable that the Stahleck family, probably of lower nobility, were knightly feudatories or ministerials of the Lords of Greifenstein.
According to the pottery finds, Stahleck Castle was probably inhabited from the middle of the 13th to around the middle of the 14th century at the latest, although it must be assumed that it was built in the first half of the 13th century. The reason why the castle was finally abandoned remains largely unclear, as does its potential involvement in the military events of the Imperial War of 1311. However, recent archaeological excavations have revealed evidence of at least two separate construction phases as well as a catastrophic fire of as yet unclear dimensions and date.
Stahleck Castle is situated on a steep-sided castle rock projecting to the west high above the valley Zellertal on the edge of the plateau about 2 km north-east of Holzelfingen. On the field side, it was protected from the flat adjoining terrain by an angled neck ditch, which is now heavily infilled. Behind the ditch are the remains of an enclosing wall, a stone-interspersed rubble rampart containing the remains of foundation masonry. The roughly triangular core castle covers an area of around 22 x 25 meters. It most likely owes its remarkably flat surface to later leveling.
Traces of the former inner buildings are barely recognizable above ground. However, indistinct relics of walls can be seen underground in places. Broken hollow bricks and burnt lumps of clay both in the slope debris and on the castle surface also point to buildings that once existed within the core castle area.