As is well known, the Munich area is a particularly sought-after settlement area today - and that was apparently the case around 2000 years ago: extensive finds of building remains and graves in the Feldmoching district demonstrate how surprisingly densely parts of today's metropolis were already populated in the Celtic and Roman eras were.
Around 1.5 million inhabitants, spread across many districts: The current size of Bavaria's state capital is primarily the result of extensive incorporations in the late phase of its development. The actual “Munich” goes back to a settlement that only became more and more the center of a region characterized by numerous communities in the Middle Ages. According to evidence, the current area of the metropolis was already characterized by quite large settlements long before that. The new evidence for this comes from the Munich district of Feldmoching, which was incorporated in 1938.
Traces of settlement by Celts and Romans
As is so often the case, planned construction work there also led to the archaeological discoveries. The area in the sights of Munich's urban development is the so-called Lerchenauer Feld south of the Feldmoching town center. An extensive residential park is to be built on the 23 hectare open space. Before that, however, it was necessary to clarify whether traces of history might be lying dormant in the ground. And indeed: the exploratory team discovered many remains of former settlement structures. More than 100 house floor plans, six wells and nine graves have now been discovered, reports the Bavarian State Office for Monument Preservation (BLfD).
According to the findings, the extensive building remains and burials come from two different eras:
Numerous finds could be attributed to a settlement from the Roman imperial period in the 3rd and 4th centuries AD. In the burials from this era, archaeologists have so far found Roman dishes, a belt buckle and the blade of a sickle.
Even more important, however, are the grave finds and building structures from the late Iron Age - the so-called La Tène period (450 to 15 BC). They therefore come from the Celtic inhabitants of the region north of the Alps at the time. Post holes, which can be seen as dark circles in the underground, bear witness to the different sizes of buildings of this era. Traces of former filling material prove that these were half-timbered houses, reports the BLfD.
A remarkable settlement
According to the archaeological team, the extent of the traces of development on the twelve hectares examined so far indicates a settlement that was quite large for the time: the experts estimate that around 500 people could have lived in the area of today's Feldmoching. Mathias Pfeil from the BLfD says: “Around 2,000 years ago, many people apparently already flocked to the region that is now Munich. So far we have only been able to assume that there were large settlements everywhere in today's urban area. The thorough investigation on the Lerchenau field has now confirmed this and thus closed a research gap,” says Pfeil.
The excavations are scheduled to continue there until mid-2024. Construction of the planned residential park will then begin. Ultimately, the city of Munich is building on the old settlement history in the area. Thomas Weingartner, Munich branch manager at Bayerische Hausbau Development GmbH, concludes: “The excavations show that the Lerchenauer Feld was repeatedly inhabited in different eras. We are pleased that these exciting traces can now be uncovered and evaluated before people move there again soon,” said Weingartner.