Engehalbinsel Roman Vicus

Bern, Switzerland

A sanctuary with three fana (Gallo-Roman temples), a small bath building, an amphitheatre, several necropolis and remains of buildings where discovered in 1763 and excavated in 1956 near Bern.

It has an ellipsis shape arena, whose axis are 28 x 26 metres, two walls which could be an entry at one end, and a niche at the other end. Its blenches were probably wooden made. Long regarded as an amphitheatre (it would one of the smallest in the Roman empire), the building could be also a Gallo-Roman theatre (according a recent hypothesis), and the walls opposite to the niche would be the basis of a wooden scenic building. The proximity of the amphitheatre with the sanctuary is significant and it could used for various public shows as well as religious ceremonies.

At the north of the amphitheatre, in the forrest, a small public bath-house is visible under a modern roof. The building, discovered in 1847 and entirely excavated between 1937 and 1938, was 20 metres long and 12 metres large. The bath-house has a cloakroom (apodyterium), a cold bath (frigidarium) with a pool, a warm room (tepidarium) and a hot bath (caldarium). The underfloor heating system is quite well preserved.

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Founded: 1st century BCE
Category: Prehistoric and archaeological sites in Switzerland

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