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Römisches Forum Waldgirmes e.V.
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Excavation II

Inner buildings of the Roman facility near Waldgirmes

The place was accessed by two roads. From the East gate, a continuous road led to the West gate; at the centre, another road branched off to the South. The streets are documented by water trenches down the middle. The streets and the building at the centre structure the inner space into four parts, of which the two larger Northern areas were not built-on completely yet. The individual building types and their placement differ significantly from the inner structure of contemporary Augustan military camps or the strip- shaped parcel structure of Roman vici. With the exception of five buildings or building harts, all buildings unearthed so far as well as the reinforcements have been destroyed by fire. The inner buildings were aligned with the streets. Along the wider East-West street, most of the un-earthed buildings had porticos. In the South-East quarter, there were buildings 1a-c and 2-4, with building complex 2 probably being structured into at least three individual buildings. The distribution of buildings makes the quarter appear block-like, reminiscent of the insulae of urban settlements. In the opposite South-Western quarter, buildings 10, 14 and 15 were aligned towards the street, with buildings 16, 18 and 19 behind them. The Northern porticos of the two buildings 18 and 19 were at the same height as the North side of buildings 1a-1c. The area facing the street was built-on in two phases. House 20 was demolished unburned. The area to the West of buildings 15 and to the North of buildings 18 and 19 was separated by a fence or palisade. The building situation seems less clear in the larger North half. The most comprehensive areas were examined in the North-East there so far, leading to buildings 5, 6, 8a, 8b, 9 and 13. It is questionable whether the post standing traces summarised in 7 were even a building or only a fenced-in material storage or a construction site. Out of the six other buildings, three had already been demolished before the end of the entire facility by fire (5, 9 and 13).

The Roman forum at Lahnau-Waldgirmes

For the interpretation as founding of a town, the 54 by 45 m building at the centre of the facility is particularly important. Its foundations made up of 40 to 45 cm wide stone walls, partially retained up to three layers high, the original mortar for which was partially still in evidence. On these base walls, the buildings were built in half-timber construction. Three wings of 6 m width each surrounding a 32 by 24 m inner courtyard to the East, South and West, while it bordered a 45 by 12 m large hall to the North. Along its longitudinal axis, there was a number of originally ten large posts, four of which were inserted into post pits. The others were placed on square, 0.5 m wide stone foundations.           The stone foundations of the Roman Forum at Waldgirmes from above On the northern longitudinal side of the hall, there were three attachments. One square, 100 m2 large central hall is flanked by two apsides, each 6 m wide and deep. The attachments connect the central building of Lahnau-Waldgirmes to forum facilities of the late Republic and the early imperial time. These were square facilities where one side was held by a basilica aligned crosswise to the forum, usually with one or several attachments. The basilica is the building that dominates the square in this type. A temple across from the basilica is missing. The function of the attachments was in the scope of municipal self-administration.        Stone foundations of the Apsides                                         Stone foundations of the annex The central attachment in Waldgirmes can be logically interpreted as curia/aedes Augusti, the two flanking apsides may have been further office rooms or tribunalia.

The rider's statue

The Waldgirmes find is characterised by fragments of a gold-plated, roughly life-sized bronze statue as well. 17 fragments, most very small, could be recovered so far. One fragment that was unearthed during the excavation of 1997, stands out by size and decoration. It is approx. 40 cm long, slightly curved and has a break only along one narrow side. The front shows a relatively rough vine that has blossoms at regular intervals.                                                          Gold-plated bronze-parts of the equestrian statue During the campaign of 2000, the largest currently known fragment of the gold-plated bronze statue was found. It is a part of the middle foot of the horse, broken off above the hoof. This find confirms that it was a life-sized statue. Up until then, this fact was only concluded indirectly from the recovered part of the chest harness. Based on the upper circumference of the fragment, a good comparison is possible e.g. with the horses of San Marco. The piece was only finished on one side before gold-plating, which clearly suggests that there was only one exposed side. The piece from Waldgirmes is probably an attached leg because of the torn-off hoof. The circumference of the fetlock and the one-sided gold work suggest the right rear leg.

Residential buildings of the Roman facility

Buildings 1a-c, 5, 18 and 19 can be interpreted as sophisticated residential buildings. The entrance was between two rectangular rooms of equal size. It led into a large, approximately square room at the centre of the building, flanked by narrower rooms. A rear series of rooms completed the buildings. It was formed identically in buildings 1a-1c and 19, while buildings 5 and 18 showed a different room structure in this area.                   Building 1a-c                                                                             Building 5 House 18 stands out among this group of buildings with its larger footprint and a portico running around it on all four sides. It also is the first example reflecting social differentiation among the resi-dents of Waldgirmes.

Industrial buildings of the Roman facility at Waldgirmes

The buildings can be summarised according to different functional groups. The two storage buildings 3 and 12 and the two sheds 9 and 13 were industrial buildings only. While the original use of building 9 can hardly be determined anymore since its Western half was later built over with building 8, three dub-in casks only retained as discoloured earth in and near shed 13 suggest use for crafts.                                                                        Map section buildings 3, 9 and 13 Another group of buildings is characterised by rooms open towards the streets, reminiscent of taverns. These are buildings 2a-c, 4, 8a and b, 10, 11b, 14, 15 and 17. This group did not comprise consistent house types, but can be broken down further. The narrow buildings 4, 8b and 17 are difficult to interpret since they were partially built over or are badly retained. Only building 8b shows a probable connection to the adjacent pottery kiln T1. The two similarly sized houses 8a and 15 had pitched roofs and were standing facing the street with their gables. The function of building 8a is unclear. Two connected pits in the eastern portico of building 15 suggest use for crafts.                                                              Map section buildings 2, 4, 8a, 8b, 10, 11b, 14, 15, 17 Building 10, directly to the West of the street branch, was mostly placed on individual posts and was converted at least once. Only the posts of the Western outer wall and one inner wall were placed in post pits. The size of the building towards the South cannot be determined anymore, since a modern building material storage is located in that area.                                                                             Map section building 10 The following three buildings or building complexes have not been fully processed yet. This especially applies to the question of whether these buildings were a single larger building or several houses adjacent to each other. Building 2, with a total size of 60 by 12 m, had a portico to the North and West and was structured into at least three parts (2a-2c). Before the construction, the terrain was partially levelled. The post pits of the middle part were lowered into this levelled layer. The construction of the three parts also showed differences. In the Western part, the individual posts were placed at regular intervals and roughly the same depth in wall pits. The East part (2a), in contrast, rested on strong, deeply dug-in posts, while the inner walls were built more lightly there and with irregular distances between the posts. In the East part, the rooms were open towards the street, while the middle part (2b) faced South. In the Eastern part (2c), which was facing West, the room structure clearly considered the pottery kiln T2 there.                                                Pottery kiln Clear living rooms could not be identified in the footprint. Based on the foundations, another floor may have been possible for the entire building or at least for parts of it. The crafts function of the building is certain for the West part, where the pottery kiln is, while a dug-in cask and several pits in the middle part suggest a similar function. The large and wide rooms opened entirely towards the street in the Eastern part suggest use in connection with carriages. The question of whether the three parts of the building complex can be structured any further cannot be finally answered yet.                                                             Map section building 2 Building 14 was 32 m long, at least 12 m wide and also had a portico in the North. The Eastern part of the building was placed on individual posts, while the Western part had a series of three rooms that were open towards the street. A pit that overlaid a wall pit there documents that the building was converted at least once. Due to the material storage adjacent to the South, the building's further size in this direction cannot be determined at this point. The question of whether the parts with different foundations were two separate buildings built against each other needs to remain unanswered for the moment as well.                                                                         Map section building 14 Building complex 11 was structured into an unburned Northern part (11a) and a burnt-down part to the South (11b). Larger yard areas in the Northern part suggest agricultural use, maybe as a garden. This use was stopped later and the building was demolished or reduced to the 22 by 20 m building 11 b. Here, too, it cannot be told whether the Eastern part, which was completely open towards the street, and the Western part, were parts of the same building yet.                                                                                            Map section building 11a, 11b

Military buildings of the Roman facility at Waldgirmes

The two buildings 20 and 21 in the West of the facility are special as well. These two buildings are probably a troop barracks with separated head building to the South of the street. The width of the soldiers' part corresponds precisely to the double barracks from Oberaden, Dangstetten and Rödgen. The head building was broken down unburned, while the soldiers' part stood until the facility burned. After the head building was demolished, however, the area remained separated from the more Southern parts of the settlement by a fence or palisade. The early form of troop accommodation suggests construction at the very beginning of the settlement of Waldgirmes, while the different fate of the officers' and soldiers parts and the fact that trenches are mostly missing from the soldiers' parts makes it unlikely that this building complex was used to house troops during the entire settlement time. It probably belonged into the founding phase, when streets and the defensive wall were built by the troops. This would be another indication that the temporary camp to the East of the settlement dates into the time after 9 A.D.
Excavation on the forum premises
Copyright for the excavatio and find pictures with RGK
Plan of the barracks