• Germany's news in English
 
app_header_v3

Missing link in Roman conquest of Germany a 'sensational find'

The Local · 27 Oct 2011, 07:29

Published: 27 Oct 2011 07:29 GMT+02:00

The find, near the small town of Olfen not far from Münster near the Ruhr Valley, has already produced a collection of artefacts, not only pottery but also coins and clothing fasteners. These enabled researchers at the Westphalia-Lippe Municipal Association (LWL) to confirm what they had hoped.

“It’s a sensational discovery for Roman research in Westphalia,” LWL-director Wolfgang Kirsch said in a statement.

He said the newly-discovered Roman camp marks the end of a hunt that started more than 100 years ago to find the “missing link” in the chain of Roman camps on the Lippe River.

“Olfen was strategically very important for the legionaries during the Drusus campaigns in Germania,” LWL's chief archaeologist Michael Rind said in a statement.

Click here for a gallery of the archaeological discoveries

Roman soldiers used the camp from 11 to 7 B.C. as a base to control the river crossing – which makes the find one of the most important logistical landmarks of the Roman conquerors, he said.

Finding the camp – and its bits of buried treasure – was akin to a scavenger hunt, with clues unearthed slowly over the last century.

In 1890, archaeologists discovered a bronze military helmet near Olfen, leading archaeologists to the area. But it was not until earlier this year that volunteers discovered Roman pottery shards, which sparked action by the LWL. Aerial photography was used to try to identify potential remains of building works, while archaeologists and volunteers searched the area for artefacts which could confirm where the camp was.

They found enough to be sure – and also traced a moat surrounding the camp as well as evidence of a wooden wall that could have protected 1,000 legionaries from attack within an area equalling seven football fields.

The camp’s size – relatively small in comparison to other Roman military establishments in the area – along with the construction of its wood and earthen wall and location on the Lippe River, suggest it functioned as a supply depot, according to researchers.

Although the LWL is responsible for five other Roman military ruins along the Lippe, with discovery of some sites dating back to the 1800s, the new Olfen find will likely remain untouched for awhile.

“The monument has up to this point been allowed to lie in the ground widely undisturbed for over 2,000 years – an absolute rarity, and from an archaeological point of view, absolutely ideal.

Story continues below…

“Our primary concern is to protect and preserve this monument for the future – and not, to completely excavate it as soon as possible,” Rind said in a statement. “The exploration of the camp will probably take several decades to complete.”

Discoveries from the association’s latest find will be on display from Saturday, October 29, at the LWL Roman Museum in Haltern. The pottery, coins and garment clips will be shown through the end of the year, along with the bronze helmet, the original discovery.

The Local/emh

Related links:

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
Ansbach suicide attack
Isis says Syrian bomber in Bavaria one of its 'soldiers'
Photo: DPA

The Syrian asylum seeker who blew himself up outside a music festival in Germany was a "soldier" of the Isis, the jihadist-linked Amaq news agency said on Monday.

Merkel's refugee policy was 'reckless': Left Party leader
Photo: DPA

The attacks carried out by refugees over the past week show accepting large numbers of refugees brings "significant problems", the party's chairwoman said on Monday.

Ansbach suicide attack
What we know about the Ansbach suicide bomber
The attacker's rucksack. Photo: DPA

He had had his asylum application rejected and had twice attempted suicide, say authorities.

Ansbach suicide attack
Ansbach suicide bomber confirms Isis loyalty in video
Police remove evidence from the bombers residence. Photo: DPA

The man who blew himself up in Ansbach, Bavaria, on Sunday evening, injuring 15 people, recorded a video in which he pledged his allegiance to terror group Isis.

Top 10 German firms with the highest-paid employees
Photo: DPA

Want to know which companies shell out the most for salaries?

How will Germany change after string of bloody attacks?
A policeman in Ansbach on Sunday evening. Photo: DPA

Within seven days Germany has been hit by four bloody attacks on innocent people on its streets and in a train. What does this unprecedented string of murders mean for the country?

After attacks, minister rejects blanket suspicion of refugees
Thomas de Maiziere. Photo: DPA

Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere on Monday cautioned Germans against indiscriminately branding all refugees a security threat after a rash of attacks over the last week.

What we know about the Reutlingen knife attack
Police arrest the attacker. Photo: DPA

... and what we don't.

Munich shooting
Police arrest possible accomplice of Munich gunman
Mourners in Munich. Photo: DPA

Authorities in Munich believe that a friend of the teenager who murdered nine people at a Munich shopping centre may have known about his plans.

Ansbach suicide attack
Suicide bomber attacks bar in Bavaria
Photo: DPA

A Syrian migrant set off an explosion at a bar in southern Germany that killed himself and wounded a dozen others late Sunday, authorities said, the third attack to hit Bavaria in a week.

Sponsored Article
Why you should attend an international job fair
DPA
Gallery
IN PICTURES: How Munich responded to shooting spree
Sponsored Article
Avoid hidden fees when sending money overseas
Lifestyle
10 rookie errors all Brits make when they arrive in Germany
National
Bavaria train attack: Were police right to shoot to kill?
Sponsored Article
Why Swiss hospitality graduates are in demand
National
How to get German citizenship (or just stay forever)
Sponsored Article
Five things Americans should know about voting abroad
Technology
Brexit will turn Berlin into 'Europe’s startup capital'
Travel
Six soothing day trips to escape the bustle of Berlin
International
'Germany needs to make UK come to its senses'
Features
Six odd things Germans do in the summer
Sponsored Article
Why expats choose international health insurance
Travel
These 10 little-known German towns are a must see
Features
How two gay dads cut through German red tape to start a family
Sponsored Article
Health insurance for expats in Germany: a quick guide
National
Five things to know about guns in Germany
Sponsored Article
Avoid hidden fees when sending money overseas
Culture
10 things you need to know before attending a German wedding
National
Eight weird habits you'll pick up living in Germany
Lifestyle
Six reasons 'super-cool' Berlin isn't all it's cracked up to be
Sponsored Article
Why Swiss hospitality graduates are in demand
Society
Only one country likes getting naked on the beach more than Germany
Lifestyle
23 ridiculously fascinating things you never knew about Berlin
Sponsored Article
Why you should attend an international job fair
Culture
8 German words that perfectly sum up your 20s
Lifestyle
Can't make it past the door at Berlin's most famous club? Help is at hand
Business & Money
Why Frankfurt could steal London's crown as Europe's finance capital
Features
6 surprising things I learned about Germany while editing The Local
Culture
Five sure-fire ways to impress Germans with your manners
10,742
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd