Historical finds inside forchheim’s old fortress

The world cultural heritage city of bamberg has 1340 individual monuments, in forchheim 376 are known. "We don’t have to hide there, if you put it in relation to the number of residents.", stefan kindler, the employee for monument protection in the building regulations office, told the building committee of the city council.

He and his colleague pia rotgeri-nunnemann have their work cut out for them – in both the private and public spheres. The city is the decision-maker when it comes to monument protection in forchheim (lower monument protection authority). This is reflected in the permit notices that the city issues year after year to owners of listed monuments when they have any tree removals planned. In 2017 there were 66, this year already 30.

No preventers

"Historic preservationists are often portrayed as obstructionists", knew rene franz from the city building department. Kindler emphasized that this is not the case. He considers his most important task to be advising the people concerned. Because often a solution has to be found in which several interests and requirements have to be taken into account. So jungst at the fire of the facility of the kaiserstrand. "It was important that we insisted on fire protection and preservation of historical monuments, the concept worked." For franz, it is a good counterexample to the often-circulated notion of prevention. Now it has to be seen what the situation is with the loach water that has penetrated the may tower.

The town hall is at the top of the list of current tasks. And the new building of the katharinenspital: before any walls were erected here, the archaeologists meticulously examined the subsoil. And they found it.

Inside the city fortification

What is still pending: the former agricultural school in loschwohrd, the savings bank’s housing project on its employee parking lot, the development of the slosorz company land, the expansion of the district administration office. These projects have one thing in common: they are all located in areas of the former city fortifications and must therefore be accompanied by monument protection measures.

Often unexpectedly, one stumbles upon traces of bastions, forts, walls and ditches. Youngest example is the new gate of the municipal building yard in birkenfelderstrabe. Almost on the surface, the work revealed the remains of an old water channel from the fortress. An archaeologist was consulted. He documented their situation, and the work was allowed to continue.
The find probably belonged to valentine’s or st.-cunigundis bastion that protected the reuther gate.

Above ground, no traces of the gigantic building have been preserved, because in the 19th century, it was built on the ground. The walls were torn down in the nineteenth century to allow the city to expand. Many stones were reused and not all of them as obvious as the refectory at the herder high school. The exact location of the reuther gate was not known for a long time, until a few years ago when a land survey was carried out at the intersection of wiesentstrabe and dreikirchenstrabe.

Surveying of the site

Since a large number of construction projects are currently planned in the former fortress area, the survey of the entire fortress complex is a good basis. The city, in cooperation with the local history society, has given a corresponding order. It is a hard work to find the remains above the ground level and the plans of the 19th century. To precisely determine the fixed points in today’s cityscape at the beginning of the 20th century and age. But it is important work – and in the interest of the developers and for the city’s history.

New insights into what the city looked like centuries ago also emerge when lines are to be laid, especially for broadband expansion. It and also the construction of rough trenches is so important to the state office for the protection of historical monuments that it has a separate department for "linear projects" has established.

Skeleton lacks the shadiness

In forchheim, this currently includes the laying of cables for high-speed internet by the municipal utility company. The excavation works are therefore accompanied by an archaeologist in the inner city area. It too has already become fundig – not far from the marienkapelle. Just in front of a future house connection, the builders stumbled upon the remains of a skeleton with a missing pin. This was not a victim of an industrial accident when the first pipes were laid in the area. Shards found right next to it, point to the 14th century. Century as the time of burial.

The marienkapelle had already been standing there for around 200 years. The oldest parts of the building date back to the time of bishop otto (1102-1139). The chapel, which some historians associate with the as yet undiscovered palatinate of the early middle ages, became the castle chapel when lambert of brun (around 1320 to 1399) built the "imperial palace" to be built as a kind of summer residence for bishops.
It also became a cemetery chapel – perhaps for the bishop’s servants? Maybe the dead man died during the construction of the palatinate? The woman you can not. Not yet. Because it is quite likely that as the cable-laying work continues, more finds will come to light that will shed light on this part of the city’s history.

There is not only one skeleton find, in the meantime there are seven to eight, which were found at the east side of the marienkapelle. Animal bones have also turned up. "The possibility of finding skeletons and historical objects does not make our work any easier, we stop as soon as we have the suspicion that "something is lying here", says column leader reinhold schmitt. "As we work our way towards st. Martin’s church, there will probably be fewer finds", treasures schmitt.

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