The European Archaeological Park of Bliesbruck-Reinheim (French: Parc archéologique européen de Bliesbruck-Reinheim) is an archaeological park stretching on both sides of the German-French border between the towns of Reinheim (Saarland) and Bliesbruck (Moselle). This cross-border project was created in 1989 and combines excavations and reconstructions of Celtic and Roman finds over an area of more than 70 ha. with exhibition and educational facilities. The grave of the famous Reinheim Celtic Princess was found here and visitors can see an impressive walk-in reconstruction of the burial. On the German side are the foundations of what was once an ornate Roman villa and partially reconstructed outhouses. On the French side are the remains of the small Gallo-Roman town and the partially reconstructed public baths.
The first excavations on the site took place between 1806 and 1809, then in 1879 in the area of the Roman Villa of Reinheim. In 1954 the tomb of the Celtic Princess of Reinheim was discovered in a sand pit and was excavated. Further investigations in 1956 and 1957 revealed that there had originally been three large burial mounds (tumuli) dating from the 4th century BC, of which the princess’ tomb was just the smallest with a diameter of 20 metres. The other two mounds had diameters of 22 metres and 36.5 metres respectively. All three mounds were surrounded by circular ditches of 0.6 metres and 1.2 metres.
The grave of the Princess of Reinheim is dated to the early La Tène Iron Age period, at the beginning of the 4th century BC. The tomb was filled with exceptionally rich funerary objects: a bronze mirror in figurine form, a complete dinner service consisting of two simple bronze plates, a fine bronze jug and two openwork gold cuffs. The princess wore a gold torque around her neck and a gold bangle on her right wrist, two gold rings on her fingers and three rings of gold and glass around her left forearm. The reconstruction of the Princess of Reiheim’s tomb is approximately 100 metres west of the original burial site. Inside the mound are copies of the artifacts exhibited (the originals are in the Museum of Prehistory and Protohistory in Saarbrücken).
In the Summer of 1987, systematic excavations work provided evidence of a Roman villa complex consisting of a large palatial residence (pars urbana) and an economic area (pars rustica). This complex was constructed in the 2nd half of the 1st century AD and reached its greatest size during the 1st half of the 3rd century AD. The main building of the pars urbana measured 80 metres from east to west and 62 metres from north to south. It had a rectangular middle section with a wing on either side. One portion of the building in the north end of the west wing was the villa’s private thermal baths with an under-floor heating (hypocaust). The pars urbana was a large courtyard enclosing an area 300 metres long and 135 metres wide and surrounded by a wall. Rectangular buildings which served as workshops stood on either side of the courtyard.
In 2000 an equestrian iron mask with bronze plating was found at the rear of one of the courtyard’s buildings. Used in ceremonial or sporting events, this hinged-visor was attached to a cavalryman’s helmet.
Within 250 metres of the Gallo-Roman villa are the remains of a small settlement or ‘vicus‘ of approximately 20 hectares dating from the middle of the 1st century AD. The excavations revealed that the vicus consisted of a craftsmen’s quarter of 14 terraced-buildings stretching along both sides of a secondary road and used for manufacturing and trade. Here people cooked, baked and produced iron and bronze. The dominant feature of this small city was the monumental public bathhouse complex which has been partially reconstructed and is sheltered by a roof. An eastern artisanal quarter and forum area have yet to be fully excavated. At its peak, the city had more than 100 houses and more than 1,000 inhabitants.
The Saarland and Moselle Valley’s ancient Roman heritage has a lot to offer to tourists and scholars alike. More than 120 antique sights along the Moselle and the Saar rivers, the Saarland and Luxembourg are testament to the Gallo-Roman era north of the Alps (further information here).
Visiting the Archaeological Park of Bliesbruck-Reinheim: The park is open daily from 15th March to 31st October from 10am to 6pm.
The Roman Temple Tawern (German: Römischer Tempelbezirk Tawern) is a reconstructed Gallo-Roman sanctuary on the Metzenberg in Tawern near Trier (western Germany). The original sanctuary was built in the 1st century AD above a major road leading from Divodurum Mediomatricorum (modern-day Metz) to Augusta Treverorum (modern-day Trier) and was used until the end of the 4th century AD.
The sanctuary was excavated in 1986-88 and seven buildings of various periods and of different sizes and plans were found within the complex. Under the direction of the Rheinisches Landesmuseum of Trier, the temple district and a large building were partially reconstructed on the original foundations. The finds (especially coins) revealed that the temple district was constructed in the first half of the 1st century AD and was used right up until late into the 4th century AD. Travellers on the nearby main Roman road would have stopped at the sanctuary to thank the gods for their successful journey or to invoke blessings while on their way to Rome.
Mercury the god of trade, commerce and travel was the main deity worshipped at the sanctuary. The slightly larger than life-size limestone head found in the water well came from a statue of the god. With the help of this find, a reconstruction of the statute was produced in 2002 which is exhibited in the large Temple of Mercury. Five inscriptions found at the site were also dedicated to Mercury.
The sacred area, surrounded by walls, had a trapezoidal ground plan. It was entered through a small gate. The construction plan had several construction phases.The first phase shows that there were five temples arranged side by side.Various gods were worshipped, among them the god Mercury, the goddess Epona, Apollo as well as Isis-Serapis.The temple district was later extended to cover a total area of 48 m in width and 36 m in depth. Three temples were demolished to give way for the great main temple.
At the north-west corner of one temple, a water well originally more than 15m deep was unearthed. It was filled with stones, earth and architectural parts. There were also fragments of inscriptions and figurative reliefs.
In the village of Tawern, at the foot of the Metzenberg, one can also see the remains of the small Gallo-Roman town (vicus) whose antique name was Tabernae. The name of the vicus was preserved in the modern name of the village, Tawern. The inhabitants of the vicus mainly provided goods and services for travellers. The nearby sanctuary attracted numerous pilgrims. A total of nine buildings were excavated on both sides of the Roman road.
The Saarland and Mosel Valley’s ancient Roman heritage has a lot to offer to tourists and scholars alike. More than 120 antique sights along the Moselle and the Saar rivers, the Saarland and Luxembourg are testament to the Gallo-Roman era north of the Alps (further information here).
The temple area is not fenced and can therefore be visited around the clock. Admission is free.