Solnhofen is a municipality in the district of Weißenburg-Gunzenhausen in the region of Middle Franconia in the Land of Bavaria in Germany. It is in the Altmühl valley.
The local area is famous in geology and palaeontology for Solnhofen limestone. This is a very fine-grained limestone from the Jurassic period which is an exceptionally fine Lagerstätte that preserves detailed fossil specimens. Alois Senefelder used specially prepared blocks of the fine Solnhofen limestone for the process of lithography which he invented in 1798. The quarrying of this lithographic limestone subsequently yielded spectacular finds, including Archaeopteryx, commemorated in the bird's full name Archaeopteryx lithographica. All 13 known specimens have come from the Solnhofen area.
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