The Upper Germanic-Rhaetian Limes was added to the UNESCO World Heritage List in 2005. The Romans ruled this region between 160 and 250 AD and left astonishing traces.
The Roman frontier in Miltenberg
At 550 km and around 900 watchtowers and 120 big and small forts, the Upper Germanic-Rhaetian Limes is the biggest archaeological landmark in Germany. It was added to the list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites in 2005. The Limes remains fascinating due to its incredible dimensions. Spectacular findings, excavations and reconstructed buildings depict the life along the Limes.
The so-called “wet Limes” along the river Main was extended between Großkrotzenburg and Wörth to Miltenberg/Bürgstadt under Emperor Antoninus Pius. It connects to the Limes via Walldürn, Osterburken and Lorch to Regensburg. The auxiliary troops of the Roman provinces, called Auxilia, were stationed in the forts. After 25 years of service they were honoured with the Roman citizenship. The camps close to the forts housed women, children, craftsmen and former soldiers.
The fort Miltenberg-Altstadt measuring 160 by 170 m was equipped for 480 men of the cavalry and infantry. Today, the only remains are parts of the fort wall and bath as well as a ruined church from the Middle Ages. The inscription on the altar of Mercury on the Greinberg reveals that the “cohors I Sequanorum et Rauracorum equitata” was stationed at the fort. The fort was first built using timber and later expanded with stone. The remains of the baths can still be found close to the Kneipp basin at the “Parkhof”. Remarkably enough, the Romans already had warm and cold flowing water, a wastewater system, heated floors and walls, so-called hypocausts – an incredible standard of comfort and hygiene which was only accomplished again in the 20th century. The Romans also brought writing to our region. After they left around 250 AD, it took several centuries until the written word was commonly used again. During constructions, a Roman pottery kiln was found in the civil settlement of the numerus fort Miltenberg-Ost/Bürgstadt (86 by 74 m, 160 men) which is now on display in the Maria Regina house. There, you can find out more from the presentation boards and in a short film. There are several information boards about the history of the Romans in Miltenberg at the Alte Volksschule between the river Main and St Jakobus, in Bürgstadt on the Stadtweg and next to the watchtowers.
The watchtowers were excavated around 1890 by the Reichs-Limeskommission. In 2010 and 2011 the foundations of three watchtowers along the Limes Hiking Path were rebuilt, preserving areas of debris. Here you can also find information boards.
During railway constructions in 1875, parts of the Miltenberg Altstadt fort were discovered. However, more secrets of the Roman times in Miltenberg could only be unearthed after several excavations between 1970 and 1976 as well as between 1988 and 1989. A considerable part of the finds can be found in the museum. On 75 m2 you can see impressive exhibits that were found or excavated in Miltenberg: the Victoria column, inscriptions and dedication stones, a mysterious “Touton” stone, coins, tools, weapons, pottery, glass and jewellery as well as a beautiful Mars statuette.
Many finds from the numerus fort Miltenberg-Ost/Bürgstadt are exhibited in the Roman division of the museum: painted and inscribed bowls and pottery, gaming pieces, writing utensils and tablets, jewellery and other everyday objects. The highlight of the exhibition is the reconstructed oven, partly made from original stones.
Do you want to learn more about the Romans in and around Miltenberg? Visit our Museum.Stadt.Miltenberg.
The University of Stanford has created a map which shows you, how long a journey from one major city within the Imperium Romanum to another would have taken, dependent on your means of transportation, and what it would have cost in Roman times. You can choose between the shortest, the cheapest or the fastest itinerary.
Since there were no major cities along the Upper Germanic-Rhaetian Limes, you will unfortunately not find Miltenberg on this map. But if you want to find out how long it took from Mainz (Mogontiacum), for example, to Alexandria and what it would have cost, you can try this site.