Construction crews doing utility work in Aachen, Germany, uncovered the remnants of a late Roman fort from nearly 2,000 years ago. Experts were called in to excavate and analyze the archaeological finds beneath the Pontstrasse street.

You don’t often get the chance to glimpse almost two millennia of history without any filters, remarked city planner Frauke Burgdorff onsite. She was observing stone foundations rising from the ground with Dr. Donata Kyritz of archaeological firm sk ArcheoConsult and municipal archaeologist Andreas Schaub. Utility company Regionetz had commissioned the work as part of an infrastructure upgrade project.

Within days of initial discovery, further investigation revealed more. While repairing a sewer connection, we uncovered thick stone foundations that must be from the Roman era based on construction techniques, explained Dr. Kyritz.

The foundations stretched longitudinally several meters towards the marketplace. A final course of ashlars was also discovered, though the exact dimensions remain uncertain both horizontally and vertically.

So far, about seven meters of the Roman wall have been uncovered, revealing its minimum width is 90 centimeters, however, many questions remain buried as archaeologists have yet to find the beginning and end points.

Schaub noted that a late Roman fort had long been suspected in this area, but wasn’t confirmed until 2011 and 2014 when excavations took place.

After Aachen was destroyed by Franks around 275-276 AD, the entire marketplace hill was fortified with over five-meter thick walls and round towers. A six-meter wide ditch also surrounded it, discovered at the Katschhof in 2011. Comparable forts have been found in Jülich, Bitburg, and Jünkerath. It is believed that Charlemagne later used the fort’s southern defensive walls as his palace foundations.

Experts theorize the newly uncovered remains may have been part of a fort gate, running parallel to Pontstrasse. Additional gates along Jakobsstraße, the marketplace square, and Grosskölnstraße are also suspected.

The goal now is careful preservation of this significant archaeological discovery through ongoing discussions. Excavations under archaeological supervision will continue as planned once documentation is complete.


Sources

Aachen.de (Official site)


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