New discoveries at Roman shore fort in Haltern am See

Archaeologists excavating a Roman shore fort in Haltern am See have discovered that the site was completely rebuilt four times with a different floor plan 2,000-years-ago.

During the Roman period, Haltern am See in North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany, was a major military fortress and civilian colony. Historians suggest that the fortress was built by the emperor Augustus who named it Aliso.

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The fortress was supported by a naval base or shore fort called the Hofestatt (C) on a spur-like terrace that sheltered boats in a natural harbour. The Hofestatt advanced like a peninsula far into the Lippe Valley, where patrol boats and ship transports carrying Roman soldiers docked.

Excavations by the Regional Association of Westphalia-Lippe (LWL) have conducted a study of two neighbouring sites in preparation for planned construction works on the Hofestatt, revealing that the Romans rebuilt the base four times with a different floor plan.

“A” showing Aliso – “B” showing the Hofestatt – Image Credit : D. Jaszczurok & maßwerke GbR

The Hofestatt was extensively built over during the 1950’s, however, the construction project now gives the LWL experts the opportunity to research the archaeological remains using modern methods.

The team also found a large number of pits and ditches, most of which are from the oldest phase of construction showing similarities in plan to the Roman camp at Bergkamen-Oberaden.

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Post traces from the third phase were dug vertically into the ground and served as the framework for a wood-earth wall, similar to the reconstructed wood-earth wall in the main fortress (A) found in the Aliso Roman Park in the LWL Roman Museum.


Header Image Credit : Antiquities Commission for Westphalia

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Mark Milligan
Mark Milligan
Mark Milligan is multi-award-winning journalist and the Managing Editor at HeritageDaily. His background is in archaeology and computer science, having written over 7,500 articles across several online publications. Mark is a member of the Association of British Science Writers (ABSW), the World Federation of Science Journalists, and in 2023 was the recipient of the British Citizen Award for Education, the BCA Medal of Honour, and the UK Prime Minister's Points of Light Award.

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