Aguntum

Lienz, Austria

Aguntum was a Roman site in East Tirol. The city appears to have been built to exploit the local sources of iron, copper, zinc and gold. During the early Christian era the city was the site of a bishopric.

The oldest Roman remains are a two-roomed wooden structure discovered beneath the bath house and dated to the mid-first century BC. Aguntum was a mining and trading centre which exploited local sources of iron, copper, zinc and gold. Craftsmen in the town processed the metals to produce a range of goods which were then transported along the Roman roads. Other exports included wood, milk products (cheese) and mountain crystals from the Tauern range.

The discovery of a layer of ash, as well as the remains of a man and a child in the bath house, points to the sack of Aguntum by the invading barbarians under Radagaisus and Alaric. The city's decline was marked when the bishopric was transferred to nearby Lavant, a few miles to the south. A second sack by Attila and his Huns is attested by a coin dated to AD 452 found in a higher layer of ash. When the Western Roman Empire collapsed, Aguntum passed under the control of the Ostrogoths and was fought over by Franks, Byzantines and Bavarians. Paul the Deacon write of a major battle fought in 610 between Garibald II of Bavaria and the Avars, in which Garibald was completely defeated. Aguntum was destroyed and even Lavant suffered a major fire. There were no further bishops ordained in the area and the surviving Roman population took refuge in hilltop fortresses while the barbarians settled in the fertile valley.

A small museum contains objects discovered during the excavations. These include painted tombstones, pottery masks, bronze objects, coins and interpretive displays.

A large modern building covers the remains of the Atrium House, an elegant villa with a fountain and marble table in the atrium. The villa covered an area of 3,000 square yards and is the largest residential building so far discovered in Aguntum. To the right (east) on leaving the Atrium House are the city gates, which still stand 3-4.5 m high.

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Address

Stribach 95, Lienz, Austria
See all sites in Lienz

Details

Founded: 50 BC
Category: Prehistoric and archaeological sites in Austria

Rating

4.6/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

Morgana Sythove (6 months ago)
I wasn't expecting a Roman settlement in LIENZ, Austria but there again the Romans got everywhere.. :-) The museum itself isn't very big but the location is beautiful and makes the visit worthwhile.
: Malda (8 months ago)
Very interesting story of this place. Incredible architectural skills more than 2000 years ago.
Tom van den Heuvel (2 years ago)
Especially the outside part of the museum is very interesting. But it lacks a lot guidance where to walk. It would be nice to have some more infrastructure/walkways to go over and through the buildings. The inside part is a little to basic about history. It would be nice to have information about where certain objects where found. But overall it remains an remarkable historic place. And a beautiful building. Very interesting.
Eddi Lackner (2 years ago)
Very interesting trip back into ancient Roman times. We highly recommend the audio guide which gives orientation to explore the whole area. Also our children (6, 11) liked it a lot.
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