Dalheim Ricciacum

Dalheim, Luxembourg

Dalheim Ricciacum is the site of a well-preserved Gallo-Roman theatre dating from the 2nd century AD. The site was first excavated by the Société Archéologique around 1850 under Antoine Namur (1812–1828). Thousands of objects were discovered, registered and described in three reports.

It appears that the settlement grew considerably until by the 3rd century it covered an area of about 25 hectares. In addition to the theatre there were private houses and large public buildings including a hostel, several temples and baths. There were also two large cemeteries. The findings indicate the population consisted of artisans and merchants. One of the more important finds was a magnificent temple measuring 28 by 19 metres. It dates from Emperor Hadrian's reign, about 130 AD.

The eagle monument commemorates the old Roman town Ricciacum and is also the symbol of Dalheim. The huge stone blocks forming the solid base of the monument were excavated in the 19th century, not far from their present location. The blocks no doubt date back to Roman times (middle of the 3rd century). They may have been removed from the Roman theatre in order to serve as the foundations of a burgus or defensive watchtower. The monument itself was built by the Archaeological Society of Luxembourg. On 28 May 1855, the groundbreaking ceremony was held in the presence of William III of the Netherlands who was also Grand Duke of Luxembourg. The memorial commemorates the presence of the Romans on Dalheim's Petzel plateau. Standing on a globe, the eagle seems to be looking in the direction of Trier while its body is facing Metz, symbolizing the old road from Metz to Trier.

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The Broch of Gurness is an Iron Age broch village. Settlement here began sometime between 500 and 200 BC. At the centre of the settlement is a stone tower or broch, which once probably reached a height of around 10 metres. Its interior is divided into sections by upright slabs. The tower features two skins of drystone walls, with stone-floored galleries in between. These are accessed by steps. Stone ledges suggest that there was once an upper storey with a timber floor. The roof would have been thatched, surrounded by a wall walk linked by stairs to the ground floor. The broch features two hearths and a subterranean stone cistern with steps leading down into it. It is thought to have some religious significance, relating to an Iron Age cult of the underground.

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In the 9th century, a Norse woman was buried at the site in a stone-lined grave with two bronze brooches and a sickle and knife made from iron. Other finds suggest that Norse men were buried here too.