Marsberg-Westheim (D): 1300 years of history, 2000 finds

Photo: Annette Dülme Source: Funke Medien NRW

We completed our archaeological excavation in Marsberg-Westheim, Germany. The results of the investigations were presented in October 2018 at the Town Hall by Salisbury archaeologists and local heritage professionals – an opportunity to see in person some exciting objects of the rich finds, that includes metal jewels, bone combs, 2nd-century vessel fragments, an ax dating from the 5th century and a 9th-century tiny metal cross.


Source: Westdeutscher Rundfunk


The number of finds discovered in this area of about 34,000 m2 is more than 2,000 items. The river Diemel flooding the area again and again throughout the course of time and forming layers of sediments made the fieldwork difficult. It provided for a number of findings an optimum environment for good retention but often made the archaeological layers very complicated ; researches often were at 2 meters depth.

Traces of settlement
Remains of buildings have come from several periods. Pileholes and pits are evidence of wooden structures ; the oldest ones are dated to the age of migration (5-6 cent.) but there were few traces like that. Based on the research, it seems that the site has been abandoned several times and then re-populated. The most exciting find is a 5th-century Terra sigillata fragment, unique not only for its fine decoration but also for its rarity, as a relatively small number of vessels got in here during the Roman Empire.

Although people still lived in traditional pile dwellings, the settlement, that become continuous from the 9-10 centuries, has transformed in a village. In a 11th-century document, the location is called Villa Durphete. The 13th century saw the first houses on stone foundation. To build more durable residential structures, the settlers used stones and wood together. We also unearthed the remains of a paved road, whose location was already known, and leading up to the church. The numerous horseshoes found near the road indicate that the road must have been subject to extensive use. We also discovered several wells.

The presence of slag residues and furnaces inidicates the likelihood of local iron and copper processing. Besides a large number of fibulae and coins, we could also collect a chiselled tiny cross in a furnace remnant.

Read more about results here (Sauerland Kurier), here (Westfalenpost), here (Landschaftsverband Westfalen-Lippe) or watch (WDR Lokalzeit Südwestfalen) the presentation.

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