The presentation of early history – museums in Germany
Evidence of Germany’s pre- and early history, before romanisation, is yielded from its soil. It is the archaeological sites and not the libraries or historic monuments that can tell us the story of how people lived over two thousand years ago. Museum staff have no easy job making these times visible and tangible using the found coins, fragments of pottery, weapons and jewellery. And for this reason, museums are now frequently being founded at the archaeological sites in an attempt to bring over a feeling for the location and for the surrounding landscape.
Archaeological sites speak to us
Light and atmosphere
To the south of Ingolstadt lies the small town of Manching that is of Celtic origin. In 200 BC this is where a circular rampart encompassed a remarkable area of 380 hectares. After the Celts the Romans built a major fort on this site and left many archaeological traces, most of which have not yet been explored. The Manching Archaeological Museum, built on the site in 2006 by the Munich architect Florian Fischer, is dedicated to both cultures. The words „römer“ (romans) und „kelten“ (celts) are written in large letters across the bright blue facade of the bar-shaped building, and are well visible from the A9 Munich-Nuremberg motorway that passes nearby.
The entrance is on the top floor and is accessed via a hundred meter long link crossing the former fort. The museum building rests on two plinths like a glass bridge connecting the two cultures. Inside the visitors are met by a mass of light and a sober, almost factory-like atmosphere. The architect did not want to create a mystic mood and inappropriately underscore the impact of the exhibits. Merely the gold treasure that was found in 1999 is displayed in a round floor showcase, surrounded by a floor-to-ceiling velvet curtain with effective indirect lighting.
Magical glimpse into the past
The archaeological site of a splendid prince’s tomb from the Hallstatt era was architecturally preserved in the Swabian village of Hochdorf by the architects Michael Kerker and Ekkehard Stöcker in 1990. The collection of exhibits that are displayed in several buildings are spanned by a steel bow representing the shape of the former burial mound.
Fully intact Celtic princely tombs from the slightly later La Tène period were found in 2000 in the Glauberg plateau in Hesse. The architects of kadawittfeldarchitektur have demonstrated how it is possible to afford an almost magical glimpse into the past. Boasting cultural facilities on the Glauberg hilltop, fortifications and the Celtic settlement this site is one of Europe’s most important Celtic archaeological finds and research sites.
is an expert on historic buildings and critic of architecture in Berlin.
Translation: Sally Habel
Copyright: Goethe-Institut e. V., Online-Redaktion
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