Ancient `Roman Village` unearthed in Germany

Washington D.C, Sept 18 (ANI): A team of archaeologists has discovered a “Roman Village” in the town of Gernsheim in Germany.

During their first Gernsheim dig last year, Frankfurt University archaeologists suspected that a small Roman settlement must have also existed here in the Hessian Ried.

Now they have discovered clear relics of a Roman village, built in part on the foundations of the fort after the soldiers left. This probably occurred around 120 AD. At the time the cohort (about 500 soldiers) was transferred from the Rhine to the Limes, and a period of peace lasting until about 260 AD began for the Roman village (which was part of the Roman province of Germania Superior) with the “Pax Romana”.

Until a year ago, little was known about Roman Gernsheim even though Roman finds have repeatedly been made here since the 19th century.

Dig leader Thomas Maurer from the Goethe University said that they now know that from the 1st to the 3rd century an important village-like settlement or ‘vicus’ must have existed here, comparable to similar villages already proven to have existed in Groß-Gerau, Dieburg or Ladenburg.

Researchers have also found real treasures such as rare garment clasps, several pearls, parts of a board game (dice, playing pieces) and a hairpin made from bone and crowned with a female bust, explained Maurer.

The people who settled in the village around the fort were primarily family members of the soldiers and trade-people who benefited from the purchasing power of the military.

A temporary downturn probably resulted when the troops left – this is something we know from sites which have been studied more thoroughly, Maurer adds, noting that stone buildings were already erected in the “Gernsheim Roman village” during the 2nd century, which suggests that the settlement was prospering.

He added that the population probably had mainly Gallic-Germanic origins, with perhaps a few “true” Romans – persons with Roman citizenship who moved here from faraway provinces. This is illustrated by specific archaeological finds; most notably pieces of traditional dress but also coins. One of the historic finds from Gernsheim is a coin from Bithynia (Northwest Anatolia), which was certainly not among the coins in circulation in Germania Superior but would instead have been a form of souvenir. (ANI)

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