W2 Archaeology in the News Post

Archeologists discover ‘Roman Village’ in Gernsheim


September 17, 2015
Goethe-Universität Frankfurt am Main

In September of 2015, archeology students uncovered a Roman settlement during their first dig of the Roman Gernsheim. The area had previously been suspected to be home to an ancient Roman settlement, but until last year there was not any irrefutable empirical evidence of such. Now, it is known that Romans inhabited this village, located on the past foundations of forts used by soldiers between approximately 70 and 120 A.D. Archeologists working on this site are happy to call themselves lucky, due to the multitude of artifacts uncovered already over the past year. Their good fortune can be attributed to the fact that the Romans, upon leaving the village, dismantled the fort and disposed of large amounts of waste; giving archeologists plenty to study. The location of this settlement was most likely the greatest appeal to the ancient Romans. It allows them to expand the traffic infrastructure to easily access the centre Mainz-Mogontiacum.

This piece of archeology in recent news pertains to this class with respect to the process by which these students further uncovered a chunk of Roman history through the excavation of this Gernsheim site. By locating this settlement, we now know that the Romans were highly concerned with having control of expansive zones east of the Rhine, and also having easy access to and from the centre. The archeologists employed the same methods of excavation talked about in this class; such as meticulous removal of soil and excess, documentation and surveil of all discoveries, and the proper removal and packaging of all artifacts.

3 thoughts on “W2 Archaeology in the News Post

  1. I found the same exact article! I thought it was amazing how closely this excavation resembled what we have learned so far in this class. Archaeologists are looking for material remains of humans in the past, so the fact that the Romans leaved so much “garbage” behind is very helpful to the archaeologists studying this site. Also, nowadays in modern archaeology, preservation is a major focus. Packaging these artifacts and proper removal of these artifacts shows how archaeology has changed over the years. I had not thought of these things when writing my post on the same article. Thanks for the insight!

  2. This find is extremely interesting because of how long people were thinking of studying this area. I also think the fact that it is a settlement that was built and then dismantled so it could leave so much evidence. You talk about why archaeologists find it important for the roman empire as a strategical point. I wonder however, why they left? If the fort was so important for expansive purposes, then why leave it. Proving that the romans were there to me seems to be the less important part to this find. I would be interested to see if there is a record of this move documented in Rome.

  3. This sounds like such an interesting find. You mention that the article refers to the “garbage” that was left behind. I can imagine why the archaeologists would be excited and consider this to be a great find. Think about what people would think of our “garbage” that we leave behind. The landfills or garbage dumps would be full of information, how would someone not familiar with our culture reason out the items we toss aside? Especially when we consider what would decompose over time and what wouldn’t. I am also wondering why the Romans chose to dismantle the site when they were abandoning it.

Leave a Reply