TRACING ROMAN GERMANIA III
Roman Villa at Ahrweiler
On the Rhein
Tracing Roman Germania 1999
Tracing Roman Germania 2002
Ancient Rome as seen in the year 2001
THE ROMAN VILLA AT AHRWEILER
Ahrweiler is a small medieval town on the Ahr, a tributory – framed by vineyards (producing red wines) – that flows into the Rhein river near Remagen.
In March 1980, during widening work on a state route at the foot of a hill on the edge of town, the Silberberg, remains of a Roman villa were discovered. Actually, what was found were three consecutive buildings: A 1st century AD dwelling (Villa I), a villa rustica (Villa II), which was inhabited from the late 1st century through 270 AD, and a late 3rd/4th century roadside or guest house, the Hospiz. Also discovered were a 4th century foundry for smelting silver and thirty-two 7th and 8th century Christian tombs in the section of the former bathhouse of the villa.
The entire place has been excavated and interpreted, roofed over, and turned into a museum and educational feature. Excavation is complete, restoration is ongoing. The emphasis of restoration is on the villa rustica.
There is a web page in German, Museum Roemervilla. If you scroll down, you will find a plan of the archaeological site.
Link check January 2009: Another brief page. An online panoramic view of the villa has disappeared in cyberspace. Here is a new site, also in German, but with photos for non-German speakers to view; and another one, but the images links doesn't seem to work at this link check.
One can walk along walkways above the first floor structure. Each room or section is numbered, and a guide sheet as well as posters explain the respective functions, and photographic displays suggest how the villa might have been furnished. There is also space for display cases of finds from the site, difficult to photograph because of their layout. Some of these have led the archaeologists to believe that the the owner of the villa might have been an indigenous person. In a small second floor room, a model of the villa is displayed – see my photo above. Since only the villa has been excavated, the grounds and farmyard in this model are imagined, but designed according to findings of villae rusticae found in Southern Germany. There is also a multi-media center in the basement. With few exceptions, such as a tonneau ceiling, everything one sees is an original structure, some of it never seen so far north of the Alps. There is at least one unusual feature: the remains of a 2,30 meter sliding window! This must be an archaeologist's delight!
I've taken a number of photos, but even with my notes and the guide sheet, I can't fully describe them all; it's rather overwhelming for the lay person. But I hope I can give an impression of what it is like to stroll through this amazing house. So, follow me.
It put me in the proper mood when, a few days later, I walked into the realm of clades variana …
© Irene B. Hahn 2003
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