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Hechingen-Stein Archeological Park
Posted by: Groundspeak Premium Member RakeInTheCache
N 48° 22.584 E 008° 56.104
32U E 495191 N 5358138
Quick Description: The Roman estate at Hechingen-Stein was founded in the last decade of the 1st century AD and was abandoned by its inhabitants in the middle of the 3rd century AD. A part of the villa has been reconstructed along the floorplan of the original.
Location: Baden-Württemberg, Germany
Date Posted: 4/7/2007 11:50:23 AM
Waymark Code: WM1CTD
Published By: Groundspeak Premium Member RakeInTheCache
Views: 164

Long Description:
Park at N48 22.456 E8 56.104. Then walk up the hill to the villa complex. You need to walk all the way around the complex to reach the ticket office. (The reconstructed Roman gate is NOT the entrance).

Southwestern Germany between Stuttgart and Lake Constance at the end of the 1st century AD was under Roman rule. In addition to castells (fortresses) and towns, Farming estates, in Latin villae rusticae, developed to provide food for the inhabitants. A family, whose name we no longer know, decided to settle here in Hechingen-Stein and build a Villa Rustica.

For about 200 years, people lived and worked on this farm. It was deserted only after Roman rule in southwest Germany came to an end.

The start of the Roman occupation of southwest Germany goes back to 15 BC. This was the beginning of the Alpine Campaign, in which Drusus and Tiberius, the adopted sons of Caesar Augustus, brought the foothills of the Alps under Roman rule. This area, together with the left bank of the Rhine, conquered by Julius Caesar, was intended to serve as the starting point for the conquest of Germania.

Following a devastating battle in the Teutoburger Forest in AD 9, the aggressive Roman politics for the conquering of Germania were laid to rest for several decades.

Under the rule of Claudius a second large attack on southwest Germany followed around the middle of the first century AD. This was successful in conquering the land up to the Danube river and establishing a series of fortresses (Castella).

The establishment of the castella in Rottweil and in Waldmoessingen during the reign of Vespasian, around AD 75, made a shorter route from the Rhine to the Danube possible. Only a few years later, under the rule of Domitian, the border on the Danube river was moved forward to the Swabian Alb. Between AD 80 and 90 the troops were once again advanced. The new border now reached as far as the Neckar river.
The last advance was achieved under the rule of Antoninus Pius in the middle of the second century AD. The northern frontier ran along what is known as the "limes" of Upper Germania and Raetia.

Following the military occupation of an area the road system was improved, making an increase in civilian settlement possible. Small villages, called "vici", were established within easy reach of a fortress, usually along side roads. Soldiers` families lived here as well as many crafts- and tradesmen who supplied the military with all its needs.

These villages remained even after the border was advanced and troops withdrawn. Larger and more influential cities, such as Rottweil (Arae Flaviae) and Rottenburg (Sumelocenna) were developed.

One of the most important forms of settlement at this time was the lone farming estate, known as a Villa Rustica. These estates were usually located on a slightly downhill slope, often close to a larger settlement or an important trade route. To ensure the necessary water supply, settlers chose sites near a well or a river. The fields surrounding the villae rusticae were used to raise grain and animals.

Villa rusticas were the backbone of the country. The existence of far more than 2000 of such estates are known in the area of present Baden-Wuerttemberg.

In the course of the third century AD, the Alemanni intensified their encroachment on the limes. As a result of this external pressure and of internal political turmoil, the frontier was pulled back to the Danube and the Iller. Alemanni began to settle in south-west Germany from this time onward.

When the Roman settlers retreated, much of their technical and cultural knowledge was lost. Although the Alemanni were superb artisans and far excelled the Romans in metalworking, they lacked all knowledge of statecraft and civic organisation with all of its advantages. While continuing to use the Roman roads, they were not able to maintain them.

The Villa Rustica was first built at the end of the 1st century AD and was expanded in the course of the next 100 years, in several steps, to a large-scale complex. A singular architectural effect was achieved through a collonade connecting the main building with the bath house to the east.

Likewise, at the end of the 2nd century, a temple area was built to the southwest, outside the walls, and this area then integrated into the estate.

The main building is in the style known as "Porticusvilla with Siderisalits". Characteristic are the two corner wings jutting forward and connected by an open-air colonnade, the porticus. In the back of the house there is a large courtyard surrounded by various rooms. By means of excavated ovens, kitchens could be identified and other rooms with underground heating systems.

Since farm estates rarely had temple areas and the main building is unusually richly furnished, there is cause to doubt that this was purely a farming estate, particularly in view of the fact that the farmland in this area is not very good.

Because of the existence of a Roman road through the valley connecting the fortress town of Burladingen with Rottenburg it would be feasible to envision a farm affiliated with a way station or hostel.

The rooms in the reconstructed part have been turned into a museum. In addition to the the original finds on display, the visitor can see reconstructed Roman living areas. These have been painted and furnished according to models from ancient times.

The exhibition shows a representative sample of the original finds. The exceptionally extensive Roman finds consists mainly of pieces of pottery, (Terra sigillata in addition to typical household pottery), Roman table utensils, as well as wine and oil amphorae, some of which were imported from Spain and the South of France. Metal finds included numerous iron tools as well as jewellery (including fibulae: safety pins) and such household goods as spoons and pens (styli) made of bronze. Sewing needles and other finds made from bones - together with numerous coins - complete the spectrum.
Most Relevant Historical Period: Roman Empire > 27 B.C.

Admission Fee: €3.50

Opening days/times:
The Museum is open from April 1st to October 30th 2007. April 1st to May 31st 2007: Tuesday through Sunday 10 am to 5 pm. Closed on Mondays. with the exception of Easter Monday or if it is a german holiday. June 1st to September 1st 2007: Open every day 10 am to 5 pm. September 2nd to October 31th 2007: Tuesday through Sunday 10 am to 5 pm. Closed on Mondays. The Museum is closed during the winter.

Web Site: [Web Link]

Condition: Partly intact or reconstructed

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