In 15 BC Roman troops led by Nero Claudius Drusus and his brother Tiberius conquered and destroyed an existing Celtic settlement, later named Cambodunum (today Kempten). In the following years the city was rebuilt on a classical Roman city plan with baths, forum and temples. Initially in wood, the city was later rebuilt in stone after a devastating fire that destroyed almost the entire city in the year 69 AD. The city possibly served as provincial capital of Raetia during the first century before Augsburg took over this role.
2000 year old city history is visible in the Roman city Kempten, in traces and finds from 120 years of archaeology. You can experience the antique life in the settlement and temple area in the open air. Follow the layout of the first capital of the Alpine Province Rhaetia between the walls of the Forum and the Basilica. Dive into the bath culture of the small thermal baths of the Governor’s Palace.
The Roman city Kempten – Cambodunum is recognized as the civil administrative centre and the Governor’s Seat of the Province Rhaetia in the first century AD, before the later provincial capital Augsburg – Augusta Vindelicum. After archaeological excavation since 1885, from 1983 onward, areas of the antique settlement are not anymore covered but made publicly accessible as an archaeological park abbreviated to APC. Some of these buildings are reconstructed in situ. There are the forum, the basilica and the small baths (Thermae) which are explained by means of multimedia.
The Gallo Roman Temple area with 13 buildings is partly reconstructed. Tables and archaeological finds show the Roman life. The temple area also houses a small Taberna or restaurant and a shop. There are guided tours offered which can even be booked in the evenings. At special events, living history demonstrations are offered.References:
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 going back to an idea proposed to Hermann Hamelmann in 1564, the Externsteine are identified as a sacred site of the pagan Saxons, and the location of the Irminsul (sacral pillar-like object in German paganism) idol reportedly destroyed by Charlemagne; there is however no archaeological evidence that would confirm the site's use during the relevant period.
The stones were used as the site of a hermitage in the Middle Ages, and by at least the high medieval period were the site of a Christian chapel. The Externsteine relief is a medieval depiction of the Descent from the Cross. It remains controversial whether the site was already used for Christian worship in the 8th to early 10th centuries.
The Externsteine gained prominence when Völkisch and nationalistic scholars took an interest in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. This interest peaked under the Nazi regime, when the Externsteine became a focus of nazi propaganda. Today, they remain a popular tourist destination and also continue to attract Neo-Pagans and Neo-Nazis.