Prehistoric and archaeological sites in Germany

Hedeby

Hedeby is the Southernmost Nordic town, and played an important role as a key trading center in the viking age. It is at the crossroads of the Slien Fjord and the Baltic Sea to the East, streams that led to the Atlantic running close by to the West and the main land route, the Army Road running along the Jutland high ridge up along the Eastern side of Jutland. The city area is surrounded by a 1300 meter long city wall in ...
Founded: c. 770 AD | Location: Schleswig, Germany

Externsteine Stones

The Externsteine (Extern stones) is a distinctive sandstone rock formation located in the Teutoburg Forest, near the town of Horn-Bad Meinberg. The formation is a tor consisting of several tall, narrow columns of rock which rise abruptly from the surrounding wooded hills. Archaeological excavations have yielded some Upper Paleolithic stone tools dating to about 10,700 BC from 9,600 BC. In a popular tradition g ...
Founded: 10000 BC | Location: Horn-Bad Meinberg, Germany

Hohle Fels

The Hohle Fels is a cave in the Swabian Alps that has yielded a number of important archaeological finds dating to the Upper Paleolithic age. Artifacts found in the cave represent some of the earliest examples of prehistoric art and musical instruments ever discovered. The cave consists of a tunnel of about 15 m (50 ft) and a hall holding about 6,000 m3, making the cave hall one of the largest of Southern Germany. The fi ...
Founded: 40,000-30,000 BC | Location: Schelklingen, Germany

Trier Imperial Baths

The Trier Imperial Baths (Kaiserthermen) are a large Roman bath complex, designated as part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site. The impressive ruins of the baths, along with the derelict rooms and the walls of previous structures, are among the most important to have been discovered in Trier. Today a visit to the thermal baths, which can also be explored below ground, is like stepping back in time. The walls of the hot bat ...
Founded: 0-200 AD | Location: Trier, Germany

Trier Amphitheater

The Roman Amphitheater in Trier is designated as part of the Roman Monuments, Cathedral of St. Peter and Church of Our Lady in Trier UNESCO World Heritage Site. The arena, built in the 2nd century A.D. for cruel games with gladiators and animals, had a seating capacity of about 20,000. When you enter the premises you walk through the ruins of the entrance gate. This was used as a quarry in the Middle Ages. The arena itsel ...
Founded: 100-200 AD | Location: Trier, Germany

Boppard Roman Fort

Boppard’s most famous sight is a castrum, a Roman Fort. The military camp of Bodobrica was established here in 360 AD. It is thought to be the best preserved example north of the Alps today. It once had 28 towers, and was a commercial centre as well as a fort. It was 308 × 154 metres and formed a rectangle of 4,7 hectare. The walls were 3 metres thick to the land side and 2,5 metres thick to the Rhine side. W ...
Founded: 360 AD | Location: Boppard, Germany

Roman Theater

Mainz, known as Mogontiacum, was Rome’s most important city in Germania. In fact, the stage and auditorium of the Mainz theater was the largest anywhere north of the Alps. More than 10,000 audience members could be accommodated. The theater proportions were gigantic: The stage measured 42 meters wide. The audience area was 116 meters in width. The Roman Theater is located just above the Mainz-South Station adjacent ...
Founded: 0-100 AD | Location: Mainz, Germany

Garz Slavic Fort

Garz Slavic fort was an ancient burgwall. The earthworks have an oval shape, are about 200 metres long and 140 metres wide. There is an entrance roughly in the middle of the western side. Towards the lake of Garzer See to the south the ramparts are lower. The castle was mentioned in 1165 as Borgar Gardz, when there were small-scale skirmishes with Danish warriors in front of the castle. The castle itself does not appear ...
Founded: 8th-9th century | Location: Garz, Germany

Jaromarsburg

Jaromarsburg was a cult site for the Slavic tribe of Rani dedicated to the god Svantovit and used from the 9th to the 12th century. It was located on the northeastern tip of the German Baltic Sea island of Rügen at Cape Arkona, and was protected on two sides by the cliffed coast and from the land side by a Slavic burgwall. The name of the temple hill is derived from the Rani prince, Jaromar I, who became a vassal of ...
Founded: 9th century AD | Location: Arkona, Germany

Drususstein

The Drususstein (Drusus stone) is a nearly 20 metres high masonry block of Roman origin on the grounds of the citadel of Mainz. It was originally cast in marble. Researchers now largely accept that this is the structural remnant of the cenotaph mentioned by writers like Eutropius and Suetonius, erected in 9 BC by Roman troops in honour of the deceased general Drusus, in Mogontiacum (now Mainz) as part of the roman funerar ...
Founded: 9 BC | Location: Mainz, Germany

Heidetränk Oppidum

The Heidetränk Oppidum near Oberursel is one of Europe"s most important Celtic oppida. The oppidum was surrounded by ramparts which encircled the settlement of opposite sides of a ravine called the Heidetrankthal. This imposing rampart where 10 km long and had six gates. The high point of the settlement was in the late La Tène period, but lost its importance in the mid first century BC. Archaeological finds fr ...
Founded: 200-300 BC | Location: Oberursel, Germany

Goseck Circle

The Goseck circle is a Neolithic circle structure. It may be the oldest and best known of the Circular Enclosures associated with the Central European Neolithic. It also may be one of the oldest Solar observatories in the world. It consists of a set of concentric ditches 75 metres across and two palisade rings containing gates in places aligned with sunrise and sunset on the solstice days. Its construction is dated to c. ...
Founded: 4900 BC | Location: Goseck, Germany

Badenweiler Roman Baths

The Badenweiler Roman bath ruins (Römische Badruine Badenweiler) are among the most significant Roman remains in Baden-Württemberg. To this day, the complex remains the best pre-served Roman spa north of the Alps. When the Romans conquered this region in what is now southwestern Germany, they brought with them their established custom of bathing. Many of the thermal springs that had been used by the Celts becam ...
Founded: 0-100 AD | Location: Badenweiler, Germany

Barbara Baths

The Barbara Baths (Barbarathermen) are a large Roman bath complex designated as part of the Roman Monuments, Cathedral of St. Peter and Church of Our Lady in Trier UNESCO World Heritage Site. The Barbara Baths were built in the second century AD. The extensive ruins were used as a castle in the Middle Ages, then torn down and recycled as building material until the remains were used for constructing a Jesuit College in 16 ...
Founded: 100-200 AD | Location: Trier, Germany

Kastell Biriciana

Kastell Biriciana was a former Roman military camp. It was occupied from the 1th century AD to the mid-3rd century as a part of Limes Germanicus (a line of frontier fortifications that bounded the ancient Roman provinces). There was first a wooden fortifications, which were later replaced with a square stone fort. The known internal buildings are marked by stone slabs. There is today a reconstructed north gate, the large ...
Founded: 90 AD | Location: Weissenburg, Germany

Ipf Hill Fort

The Ipf is a mostly treeless mountain (668 metres)with a prehistoric hill fort on its top. The fort is situated on an isolated hill, with a flattened summit surrounded by a stone wall, ditch and large counterscarp (outer bank). The overall diameter is about 180 metres. There are also extensive ramparts traversing the slopes to protect a large enclosed area and entranceway. There is evidence of occupation from the Bronze A ...
Founded: 1200-300 BC | Location: Bopfingen, Germany

Aalen Kastell

After abandoning the Alblimes (a Limes generally following the ridgeline of the Swabian Jura) around 150 AD, Aalen"s territory became part of the Roman Empire, in direct vicinity of the then newly erected Rhaetian Limes. The Romans erected a castrum to house the cavalry unit Ala II Flavia milliaria; its remains are known today as Kastell Aalen. The site is west of today"s town centre at the bottom of the Schille ...
Founded: c. 150 AD | Location: Aalen, Germany

Riesenberg Barrow

Nobbin village is best known for the megalithic tomb known as the Riesenberg. The tomb was constructed of glacial erratic boulders and dates back to the New Stone Age in Rügen. It is one of the largest stone graves in North Germany and lies just a few metres from the steep coast on the bay of Tromper Wiek, immediately by the cliff top path. The trapezoidal enclosure, which originally had 53 large boundary stones, is ...
Founded: 4300-2800 BC | Location: Putgarten, Germany

Kriemhildenstuhl

The Kriemhildenstuhl is an old Roman quarry, which was worked by the 22nd Legion of the Roman Army, who were stationed in Mogontiacum (Mainz) around 200 AD. Immediately above the quarry is the Heidenmauer, a 26 hectare fortified Celtic settlement from the late Hallstatt era. The Brunhildisstuhl a little below the Kriemhildenstuhl was probably another a Roman quarry. Other old Roman quarries in the vicinity are found in th ...
Founded: 200 AD | Location: Bad Dürkheim, Germany

Danevirke

The Danevirke is a system of Danish fortifications. This important linear defensive earthwork across the neck of the Cimbrian peninsula, was initiated by the Danes in the Nordic Iron Age at some point before 500 AD. It was later expanded multiple times during Denmark"s Viking Age. The Danevirke was last used for military purposes in 1864 during the Second War of Schleswig. The Danevirke stretches for 30 km, from the ...
Founded: 500 AD | Location: Kleindannewerk, Germany

Featured Historic Landmarks, Sites & Buildings

Historic Site of the week

Het Steen

Het Steen is a medieval fortress in the old city centre of Antwerp. Built after the Viking incursions in the early Middle Ages as the first stone fortress of Antwerp, Het Steen is Antwerp's oldest building and used to be its oldest urban centre.

Previously known as Antwerpen Burcht (fortress), Het Steen gained its current name in around 1520, after significant rebuilding under Charles V. The fortress made it possible to control the access to the Scheldt, the river on whose bank it stands. It was used as a prison between 1303 and 1827. The largest part of the fortress, including dozens of historic houses and the oldest church of the city, was demolished in the 19th century when the quays were straightened to stop the silting up of the Scheldt. The remaining building, heavily changed, contains a shipping museum, with some old canal barges displayed on the quay outside.

In 1890 Het Steen became the museum of archeology and in 1952 an annex was added to house the museum of Antwerp maritime history, which in 2011 moved to the nearby Museum Aan de Stroom. Here you’ll also find a war memorial to the Canadian soldiers in WWII.

There are some beautiful plaques on the back side of the Steen Castle at Antwerp. Canadian visitors will especially want to see the plaques thanking the Royal Hamilton Light Infantry for their part in the liberation of Antwerp, in 1944.

At the entrance to Het Steen is a bas-relief of Semini, above the archway, around 2nd century. Semini is the Scandinavian God of youth and fertility (with symbolic phallus). A historical plaque near Het Steen explains that women of the town appealed to Semini when they desired children; the god was reviled by later religious clergy. Inhabitants of Antwerp previously referred to themselves as 'children of Semini'.

At the entrance bridge to the castle is a statue of a giant and two humans. It depicts the giant Lange Wapper who used to terrorise the inhabitants of the city in medieval times.