Med…-Dieburg, capital of the civitas Auderiensium

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Foundation and structure

The civitas Auderiensium is attested on several inscriptions, although the dateable examples all come from the 3rd century AD. The settlement itself was first occupied around 125 AD, which is also the earliest possible date for the civitas' foundation. The town's Latin name is incompletely known as Med... and our knowledge of the settlement is equally fragmentary, although its development continued into the 3rd century.

The town and its structure

The known find spots within the town suggest a settled area of about 25ha. Excavations in three places have found a ditch accompanying a city wall which was originally built in the early 3rd century. The street grid, which was only partially orthogonal, can be reconstructed on the basis of the city gates.

Plan of the Roman settlement

Public buildings and infrastructure

Several substantial stretches of walling, two of which run parallel, were found roughly in the centre of the settlement. These are interpreted as part of the forum and basilica, and amongst the remains was one hypocausted room (plan nos. 2 and 14).

In the eastern part of the settlement a walled temple complex was located, containing several buildings set against the enclosure wall, along with a Gallo-Roman temple with stone cella and timber portico. The structure dates to 150 AD and, although the god being venerated is unknown, a ritual pit contained cult pottery and Lichthaeuschen (small lamp houses).

Plan of the sanctuary

A mithraeum and well were found just north of the city wall. The long-rectangular building had a timber ante-room and, in the cult-room proper, the central corridor was flanked by two benches. A pit contained fragments of the cult statue, which originally stood against the narrow end wall (Plan no. 1). A further mithraeum has been postulated on the basis of a second cult image.

Plan of the Mithraeum

Residential buildings

Numerous finds are known from within the settled area, but only a few houses. The fragmentary plan of a building with corridor-like passages and hypocausts probably represents part of a residential building, although other interpretations (e.g. as part of a macellum) have also been advanced (plan. no. 13). Strip buildings have been reported from the northern part of the town.

Water supply

Wells have been excavated in Dieburg, but no trace of an aqueduct is known.

Text: Thomas Schmidts

Select bibliography

F. Behn, Das Mithrasheiligtum zu Dieburg. Römisch-Germanische Forschungen 1 (Berlin/Leipzig 1928).

W. Boß, Das römische Dieburg. In: Dieburg. Beiträge zur Geschichte einer Stadt (Dieburg 1977) 32-48.

M. Porzenheim/E. Schallmayer, Der römische Tempelbezirk mit Kultgeschirrdepot von Dieburg, Landkreis Darmstadt-Dieburg. In: Festschrift für Günter Smolla II. Materialien zur Vor- und Frühgeschichte von Hessen 8 (Wiesbaden 1999) 539-596.

E. Schallmayer, Zum römischen Namen von Dieburg. Germania 57/2, 1981, 307-319.

E. Schallmayer in: Die Römer in Hessen (Stuttgart2 1989) 250-256.

H. Göldner / Th. Westphal, Dendrochronologie im römischen Dieburg. - in: "... trans Albim fluvium". Festschrift für Achim Leube (Rahden/Westf., Leidorf 2001) 63-67.