Roaming through Roman times in Kempten

Given we had already seen evidence of the Romans as we had travelled around Germany it was probably no real surprise to know that Kempten had a Roman past. What we didn’t know was that Kempten has the oldest certified links to the Roman rule in Germany. In Roman times Kempten was known as Cambodunum. As a result of much archaeological work which was first started in 1885 there were two very interesting sights that we were able to visit. The first was a museum in a temple area. The entry area had a mural of a procession of Roman citizens.

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Inside displays showed information about Roman life, locations of digs in the Kempten area and many artefacts. Fortunately much of it was labelled in English as well as German. Other buildings had modern exhibits. Multimedia displays showed and told of life, religion and the army in Roman times.

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Several sections of the museum were outside and were either actual finds or reconstructed based on archaeological evidence found in the area. All very well presented.

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Sadly drizzly rain curtailed our investigation but relief was at hand as the second section of the Archaeological Park Cambodunum was indoors in a nearby area. A massive steel and glass construction covered an actual thermal baths centre (including latrines). The dig is a continuing work in progress. Sections were protected by glass covers and there was a continuous path around the centre.

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Glass cabinets showed labelled artefacts and large display boards detailed this aspect of Roman life. One feature was a small model of the baths, on an elevated stand like a bridge, showing how it would probably have looked.

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Each part was labelled and when a matching button was pressed the section of the bath centre it represented became floodlit enabling us to get a better idea of how things went on in Roman days.

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As rain continued and the light was fading we didn’t manage to visit a third stage of the Archaeological Park which is in a public park and is believed to be the forum of the Roman town. So far they have uncovered the foundation walls of the basilica. The tribunal section has been rebuilt apparently. However we came away being quite impressed with what we saw and with an expanded knowledge of Roman times in this part of the world.

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