36. Germany

Clive Bridger

Affiliation: retired, (formerly Amt fur Bodendenkmalpflege im Rheinland, Xanten)

Time Presenter (s) Presentation
09.00 Clive Bridger Introduction
09.20 Sabine Hornung From Caesar to Late Antiquity – Landscape archaeological research in the vicinity of the Hermeskeil fortress (Rhineland-Palatinate, Germany)
09.40 Sebastian Gairhos The rediscovery of Augsburg-Oberhausen
10.00 Clive Bridger Strange things afoot. A group of unusual burials under the CUT by-pass, Xanten
 

COFFEE BREAK

10.50 Julia Koch New Research on the Funerary Landscape of the Arnsburg fort at the Upper German Limes
11.10 Sandra Schröer-Spang Maximum insight with minimum intervention – New research at the Roman fort of Ruffenhofen
11.30 Andreas Schaub Das spätrömische Castrum auf dem Aachener Markthügel
11.50
 

LUNCH BREAK

From Caesar to Late Antiquity – Landscape archaeological research in the vicinity of the Hermeskeil fortress (Rhineland-Palatinate, Germany)
Sabine Hornung, Patrick Mertl, Universität des Saarlandes Lars Blöck, Marvin Seferi, GDKE Trier

The Late-Republican Roman fortress at Hermeskeil – one of the very few known sites from the time of Caesar’s conquest of Gaul – has already been a focus of archaeological research for more than one decade. Recent work has now shifted towards understanding its function by trying to measure the possible impact of this massive Roman military presence on native Late Iron age settlement structures – ranging from the suggested abandonment of the nearby oppidum “Hunnenring” at Otzenhausen to the temporary development of a more decentralized settlement system in the second half of the 1st century BC. Particularly remarkable is a supposed cultic reflection of the events during the Roman conquest in a Late Iron age and Early Roman sanctuary next to the fortress. Furthermore, recent landscape archaeological research allows us to better understand possible lines of continuity into the Imperial period. Of particular interest is the emergence of the Roman settlement landscape with a Roman vicus developing as a new central place in the vicinity of the former fortress. Its early coins series is once more reflecting strong connections with the Roman military, pointing towards a possible presence of soldiers in the Augustan period. Systematic field-walking and large-scale magnetometry have also provided new insights into rural settlements in the Western Hunsrück. While there are only some stone-built villae rusticae, a large number of wooden buildings – archaeologically visible mainly by their stone cellars – have now been identified as well. This Roman settlement system seems to have survived – on a somewhat reduced level – far into the latter part of the 4th or sometimes even the 5th century AD, while illustrating once more the presence of military officials in Late Antiquity.

The rediscovery of Augsburg-Oberhausen
Sebastian Gairhos, Stadt Augsburg, Stadtarchäologie, Eckhard Deschler-Erb, University of Cologne

The augustean findspot of Augsburg-Oberhausen (Bavaria, Germany) was discovered in 1913 between the gravels of the river Wertach. It consists of more than 6000 metal objects (military equipment, tools, fittings, jewellery, keys and much more), coins, and ceramic fragments from the last decade BC and first decade AD. Because of its outstanding quantity and quality the published material was widely known in archaeology and used as a reference for augustean military places, but due to poor documentation of the findspot many questions concerning chronology, character and development of the place remained unsolved. After more than a century the findspot was rediscovered recently and investigated under the authority of the city of Augsburg. The work on the site has not finished yet but we can give a first overview of the results and finds and show new perspectives. The numbers of finds have increased impressively. Because of intensive use of metal detectors especially more small metal objects like shoenails are recorded. More than 900 coins, and several hundred fragments of imported finewares will give new chance for a more detailed dating of the site and for better understanding how it was supplied. Of special interest are several wooden construction elements and rich faunistic and botanical remains, because in 1913 no samples were taken. For the conservation, documentation and analysis of the vast material a research cooperation with the Universities of Cologne, Munich and Frankfurt and the RGZM Mainz was initiated.

Strange things afoot. A group of unusual burials under the CUT by-pass, Xanten
Clive Bridger, retired (formerly Amt für Bodendenkmalpflege im Rheinland, Xanten)

2005 to 2008 the Rhineland State Archaeological Service undertook rescue excavations before the construction of a by-pass around the Roman city of CUT (Xanten). After years of restoration and documentation, the excavated 79 cremation graves of the mid-1st to the mid-3rd century are ready for publication. 74 graves lay in an area near the main road overlying the Roman road Xanten – Nijmegen, of which 59 could be ascribed to nine categories of cremations. Most prolific were 21 small, heavily burnt pits I’ve dubbed ‘pseudobusta’. Whereas six busta measured 1·72–2·24 m by 0·84–2·08 m, the ‘pseudobusta’ were only 0·60–1·60 m by 0·38–0·75 m, yet only three contained children. They belong to the Mala Kopašnica-Sase type I commonly found in Moesia and environs but hitherto unrecorded in Xanten. Eight graves contained no human bones (two animals), whereas 66 housed 73 individuals: ten children, six juveniles (3 female), 11 adult men, 17 adult women; the gender of 29 persons (21 adults) remain undetermined. The total weight of burnt bone amounted to 16·3 kg, or 275 g on average. Three graves contained burnt bone above one kilo, the average for the busta was 346 g, the ‘pseudobusta’ 218 g. Four persons lived over 50 but nobody reached 60. Nine persons displayed diseased or injured bones. 23 graves contained bones from 24 animals. The graves contained 16 urns, 156 burnt and 110 unburnt grave-goods plus detritus. Unusual objects for the region included two indented pots with handles (one a face-pot), two terracotta figurines, a tin-plated dish, a bell and a strap-junction from horse-gear, plus several non-wheelturned vessels from Flanders and two Rhodian wine amphorae. The majority date ca. AD 70 to 180. There are indications of associations with the military, i.e. busta and pseudobusta, face-pots, the strap-junction, the age at death.

New Research on the Funerary Landscape of the Arnsburg fort at the Upper German Limes
Julia Koch, Department of Classical Archaeology, Justus-Liebig-University Giessen, Germany, Kai Mückenberger, Hessian State Department for Monuments and Sites/hessenARCHÄOLOGIE, Germany

In 2020 a new excavation project was started in the southern cemetery of the Arnsburg fort (Giessen County) due to severe threats of modern ploughing. A huge bustum burial furnished with exceptional grave goods was uncovered that can be attributed to a military officer of the 1st Aquitanian cohort (c. 90–160 AD). In this paper we will present the findings of this bustum burial and its related sepulchral architecture lining a street of tombs running towards the central Wetterau region. As a result, cross-cultural contacts to the Pannonian limes in Hungary and new insights into the cultural identity of the deceased will be illuminated in a trans-regional perspective. In a local view of the military landscape in the Wetterau Plain and the Taunus Mountains the funerary rites recently attested at the Arnsburg auxiliary fort will be contextualised.

Maximum insight with minimum intervention – New research at the Roman fort of Ruffenhofen
Sandra Schröer-Spang, Römisch-Germanische Kommission des Deutschen Archäologischen Instituts, Daniel Burger-Völlmecke, Stiftung Stadtmuseum Wiesbaden, Mathias Pausch, LIMESEUM

Since 2021, the RGK carries out fieldwork on different sections of the Frontiers of the Roman Empire within the framework of the research project “Limites. Borders, Routes and Spaces of Interaction”. This aims to generate new and comparable datasets on Roman Frontiers, their installations and settlement patterns on both sides of the frontier line from different regions. These will serve to develop a better understanding of border systems, the relationship between military and civilian spheres and interactions between Rome and its neighbours. One case study in this research project is the region around Ruffenhofen, where the RGK has been active since 2015. Excavated in 1892 by the Reichslimeskommission, the fort and its hinterland have never been built over, which means that the fort, vicus and necropoleis remain preserved almost completely. Since 2005, the site is part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site Upper German-Raetian Limes and protected from destruction by agriculture or construction. This is an optimal position in matters of heritage protection, but limits further archaeological investigation, as large-scale invasive activities are no longer possible. For the RGK, this offers an optimal opportunity to test and apply new technologies across the entire spectrum of different non- or minimally invasive methods available in-house. These include UAV based aerial surveys with various sensor arrays as well as large scale magnetometry based on a quad-supported 10-sensor system, and direct-push-drilling. Analysis of drill cores makes it possible to address stratigraphic questions and forms the basis for chemical and DNA analyses. The 2015 and 2016 fieldwork provided new insights regarding the dating of the fort and the unit stationed there. Further drilling was carried out in 2021, the results of which are still pending. A new magnetometry survey carried out in 2021 provides new insights into the previously known plan of the ensemble of fort, vicus and necropolis. The excellent preservation of features offers the chance to compare and develop different non-invasive investigation methods. The paper will present the results of the non- and minimally invasive research carried out by the RGK at Ruffenhofen so far and its perspectives for the future.

Das spätrömische Castrum auf dem Aachener Markthügel
Andreas Schaub, Stadtarchäologie Aachen (Dezernat III)

Eine seit langem in Aachen vermutete spätrömische Befestigung konnte erst durch Grabungen zwischen 2011 und 2015 identifiziert und lokalisiert werden. In früheren Jahrzehnten bereits entdeckte Bestandteile der Anlage wurden jeweils nicht in einen entsprechenden Zusammenhang gebracht. Graben und Wehrmauer wurden nun aber an mehreren Stellen nachgewiesen. Über die mindestens zweiphasige Innenbebauung ist allerdings noch wenig bekannt. Errichtet wurde das Castrum über einer münzdatierten Zerstörungsschicht der Jahre 275/276 n. Chr. Diese ist auch außerhalb des Castrum an verschiedenen Stellen des vicus Aquae Granni nachgewiesen. Die im Fundament rund 5,30 m breite Wehrmauer ruhte auf einer Pfahlgründung, war mit Rundtürmen versehen und beschreibt ein sich dem Kreis näherndes Polygon, welches rund einen Hektar umschließt. Die Anlage ist vergleichbar mit den Kastellen von Jülich, Jünkerath und Bitburg. Über die Funktion oder die Art der Besatzung ist nichts bekannt. Da die Besiedlung des Vicus außerhalb der Wehranlage aber kontinuierlich bis in das frühe Mittelalter hinein fortbesteht, handelt es sich nicht um eine Siedlungsreduktion infolge unruhiger Zeiten. Die Kontinuität zeigt sich auch daran, dass die Wehrmauer Teil der Pfalz Karls des Gr. wurde: Seine aula regia wurde über der Südflanke des Castrum errichtet. Vieles spricht dafür, intra muros auch die bisher noch nicht lokalisierte Pfalz Pippins d. J. zu suchen. Damit lässt sich Aachen gut mit Nimwegen vergleichen, wo ebenfalls aus dem römischen Castrum die frühmittelalterliche Herrscherpfalz entstand. Erst im 12. Jahrhundert wurden die Mauern der Wehranlage endgültig abgetragen.