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Deutsche Limeskommission

Deutsche Limeskommission

20. Echzell Fort

Echzell Local Authority, Wetteraukreis

Echzell Local Authority, Wetteraukreis. West walls of the fort with roadway leaving the gates. View from north-east.

With an area of 5.2 ha (248 m x 208 m), the Echzell fort was among the largest on the Upper German-Raetian Limes. It was built at the end of the 1st century AD at the end of the reign of the emperor Domitian, as a timber/earth fort. It was probably re-built in stone under the emperor Hadrian (117 - 138 AD). It is probable that an Ala quingenaria and a Cohors quingenaria peditata were stationed here concurrently. The only occupation that has so far been established with safety is that of the Ala Indiana Antoniniana in the early 3rd century.

Of the internal buildings, we know the principia and four troop barracks. A large camp village developed on all sides. By the end of the 19th century, traces of Roman settlement had already been established over a total area of 81 ha. The baths, on the site of the church, with a length of around 50 m, were among the largest on the Upper German-Raetian Limes. Another large stone building was situated next to the baths, probably accommodation for visitors. A large courtyard-like unwalled area at the north-west of the camp is striking. There was a rubbish dump in front of the west gate in Roman times. A burial ground has been located south of the camp village.

The Echzell fort has become still more well-known because of the wall paintings which were found on the ceiling of one of the troop barracks. They show scenes from Graeco-Roman mythology.

The fort baths are marked out in the pavement around the church.

The excavation by the Reichs-Limeskommission in 1897 yielded the evidence for the fort. The Saalburg Museum conducted excavations at the fort in 1958, and from 1962 to 1965, and investigated the history of the construction of the fort. The larger area of the camp village in front of the south gate of the fort was only excavated between 1990 and 1992 by the district archaeologists of the Wetterau district.

The south-west wall of the fort has been built over. Otherwise the sites lie principally in the region of gardens and only to a small extent in meadows and fields. The camp village has not been built over in the north-west and north-east. The area of the burial ground in the south has been extensively destroyed by lignite mining.

There is no longer anything of the fort to be seen. Apart from the baths, this also applies to the camp village. The church of Echzell was erected largely on the foundations of the baths. Stone walls are to be seen in a cellar under the church. Further sections of walls from the region of the baths which has not been built over were marked on the square in front of the church with stone paving.

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