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Students find rare Roman temple on practice dig
Photo: The University of Bonn

Students find rare Roman temple on practice dig

Published: 04 May 2012 10:40 GMT+02:00
Updated: 04 May 2012 10:40 GMT+02:00

Archaeology students got a taste of the real thing during a digging lesson, when they stumbled upon what was this week confirmed to be a Roman temple – in an area not previously thought to have been populated.

Lecturers at Bonn University had set up a mock archaeological dig at a building site on campus to teach hopeful historians digging techniques. What they did not expect to find were the 2,000-year-old foundations of a building, nestled into the dense, clayish mud.

While the initial discovery was made in March, it was only in the past fortnight that the team realised the foundations were from a temple from the Roman era, the floor of which was scattered with broken pottery dating as far back as 800 BC.

The building, which could have been part of a wealthy country estate, was 6.75 metres wide and 7.5 metres long. It was probably made from wood or clay, but roof tiles and iron nails that matched other second century Roman buildings were fished out of the rubble.

Only one similar temple – a room surrounded by an enclosed walkway – has been found in that part of North Rhine-Westphalia. Builders uncovered a larger version while constructing the Bonn World Congress Centre in 2006.

Historians had previously thought that the only settlement in that area from the time was near the Rhine. But Dr Frank Rumscheid, archaeology professor at the university, said that the temple suggests people lived away from the lush river banks, in what is now the Poppelsdorf campus area, some kilometres back from the water.

Work is set to continue on the dig site, but when the excavation is complete and everything worth inspecting has been taken to the university laboratories, the site will be filled in and building work will continue.

“There’s not enough there to completely lift the foundations out and create a replica,” said Rumscheid. But he added that further archaeological investigation of the Poppelsdorf site could turn up more interesting finds.

The Local/jcw

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

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Your comments about this article

19:42 May 4, 2012 by Englishted
Yes but what do the Romans ever do for us ?.
22:01 May 4, 2012 by Bavaria Mike
The Romans did a lot through out Europe, they are the influence and basis of civilization as we know it and we can not change history, too much. It would be interesting to see a follow up on this story as I am into Archaeology.
00:22 May 5, 2012 by Livioxxx
I'm also interested in archeology, I even think about studying that subject, but I've heard that archeology depends fully on state subventions and that the subventions in this field are becoming less and less. Therefore I'm not sure if I should take that risk. But it has always been my favorite subject to study.
02:19 May 5, 2012 by Fritte
#1:

>What's this, then? "Romanes eunt domus"? People called Romanes, they go, the house? <

^^
07:34 May 5, 2012 by Taffthedigger
Poor reporting. ...."a temple from the Roman era, the floor of which was scattered with broken pottery dating as far back as 800 BC."

Rome was just a few mud huts in 800 BC. I guess they got a bit muddled and what we have here is a native site (hence the c.800 BC pottery) on which the Roman authorities later established a temple.
11:43 May 5, 2012 by smart2012
To Englishted:

Political system is based on Roman system

Law system is based on Roman system

water system is based on Roman system

Street system is based on roman system

Thx the Romans that they were in Germany
14:51 May 5, 2012 by Englishted
@smart2012

Yes apart from :

"Political system is based on Roman system

Law system is based on Roman system

water system is based on Roman system

Street system is based on roman system

Thx the Romans that they were in Germany"

What have the Romans done for us?

P.S. See the Life of Brian .
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