The European Archaeological Park of Bliesbruck Reinheim, territory of Celtic and Gallo-Roman civilization, is located on the Franco-German border, in Moselle. Indeed, in antiquity, the Roman Empire extended, at its peak, over a large part of Europe, including present-day East Germany. Today, the Park is made up of the remains of a Celtic tomb, a small town and a Gallo-Roman villa.
History of the park
The first excavations were made in 1906, on the German side, in Reinheim, where the Gallo-Roman villa was partially discovered, then buried again. But the great discoveries of precious objects from the Celtic tomb in 1954, then from the Gallo-Roman village in 1971, were made by chance, by the exploitation of the earth in sand pit in the valley of Blies. Urgent safeguard excavations are made, and it is a whole artisanal district which is discovered, then thermal baths, as well as a rich tomb of a Celtic princess, while the excavations of the villa resume in Germany.
Today, the Archaeological Park is managed both by the Saarland for the Celtic tomb and the villa, and by the General Council of Moselle for the village and the thermal baths. The two managers have created a museum space on either side of the border to explain the Franco-German site to visitors.
On the German side, the oldest known trace of occupation in the area dates back to the 4th century BC, with the presence of a tomb of a Celtic woman belonging to the high society of the time. Today we can see a reconstructed necropolis formed of 3 tumuli, and visit one, where the burial chamber has been reconstructed, with a copy of all the jewels found as well as the objects necessary for life in the water beyond (dishes , drinking horn, jug). All these richly worked and decorated objects show the work of Celtic craftsmen and the advanced knowledge of this civilization often considered barbaric.
The excavations also revealed a villa from the 3rd century, probably belonging to a wealthy patrician, in view of the 52 rooms of the house (on the ground, one must imagine a floor above), private baths, an ornamental basin, rooms heated by hypocaust, murals and the large enclosed land, the entire residence spanning 5 Ha. The courtyard, delimited by a perimeter wall, is punctuated by 12 buildings contiguous to the perimeter wall on each side, probably buildings used for the management of the agricultural domain (barn, stable ...). A proven Roman road bypasses this building and allows you to meet some reconstructed Celtic houses, in wood and cob, where certain events take place throughout the year.
A museum space in German only was also built to explain to visitors the history of these discoveries.
On the French side, it is part of a vicus, a Gallo-Roman village from the 2nd century to the 3rd century which has been found, with the remains of the thermal baths highlighted by a scenography respectful of the different spaces, the forum, and dwellings.
These dwellings, partly excavated on either side of a Roman road which passed under the current departmental road, are relatively small, but probably composed of one floor. They each have a garden at the back, with latrines (pits serving both as dumping grounds and toilets). On the west side of the road, the excavations revealed the artisanal and commercial character of the vicus (as proof of the numerous ovens found in certain dwellings), with houses bordered by a portico which allowed them to have a storefront. Some buildings also have a cellar, with basement windows and niches, which allowed the inhabitants to practice the worship of Roman deities. On the east side, dwellings that may have served as inns have recently been revealed.
A space with a pottery workshop and two potters' ovens, as well as a bakery have been reconstituted and allow the activities of the Gallo-Romans to be put into practice.
A museum space has also been built and each year hosts a temporary exhibition on Roman roads, the gods or even the history of excavations.
Each year, historical reconstruction events take place with the aim of highlighting the remains, but also to experiment with artisanal practices.
European Park management
This Franco-German position of the vestiges which once formed part of a single empire generates a complicated management. Even if each entity manages its part, employs its guides, and organizes events, the overall management is carried out jointly.
This management is particularly interesting for the treatment which is done of the remains. Indeed, in France, the remains found are restored and protected by an overlay of construction, to protect what is original, with a visible demarcation to identify the ancient part. In Germany, on the other hand, the buildings are rebuilt on the old ones, with the same materials and respecting the probable size of the buildings, in order to better understand what a Gallo-Roman villa was as a whole.
Access to European Archaeological Park of Bliesbruck Reinheim
1 rue Robert Schuman
57 200 Bliesbruck
Phone: 03 87 35 02 20
Open from March 15 to October 31 - every day from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
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