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Ingelheim am Rhein

In Ingelheim Charlemagne built a palace as an important temporary seat of residence and government to kings and emperors mainly of the early Carolingian and Ottonian dynasties. After the recent excavations, a selection of features was preserved in situ, allowing visitors to appreciate them in their historic context.

  • Modern Era – Today

Modern Era – Today

Archaeological Research

The knowledge about the Pfalz at Ingelheim had not been lost through the centuries. However, it was initially documented in 1883 by the architect Philip Strigler. He retrieved a number of imposts from the area of the Aula regia, and discovered the entrance complex with three doors, which he was able to connect to the southern end of the Aula regia, formerly addressed as ‘basilica’.59

Paul Clemen Fig. 36 excavated a small trench to the north-east of the apse of the Aula regia in 1888/1889, and found the remains of foundations. Combined with Strigler’s observations, Clemen reconstructed a complex with three sections, the gate area, a narthex and a ‘basilica’ with three naves, which he dated to the Early Medieval period.60

Fig. 36: Excavator Paul Clemen. Credit: Gisbert Knopp (ed.), ‘Der Rhein ist mein Schicksal geworden’ – Paul Clemen 1866-1947. Erster Provinzialkonservator der Rheinprovinz, Köln, 1991, p. 92

Fig. 36: Excavator Paul Clemen. Credit: Gisbert Knopp (ed.), ‘Der Rhein ist mein Schicksal geworden’ – Paul Clemen 1866-1947. Erster Provinzialkonservator der Rheinprovinz, Köln, 1991, p. 92

First systematic excavations were carried out under the direction of Christian Rauch Fig. 37 from 1909 onwards. The monumental crescent-shaped complex with the interior colonnade was discovered in 1913/1914. This enabled a full understanding of the size of the entire site. Excavations up to 1935 were able to shed light on the floor plans of the separate building parts of the Pfalz. 61

Fig. 37: Excavator Christian Rauch (in front on the right side) with his team. Credit: Lachenal, François and Weise, Harald T. (eds), Ingelheim am Rhein 774-1974. Geschichte und Gegenwart, Ingelheim am Rhein, 1974, p. 290

Fig. 37: Excavator Christian Rauch (in front on the right side) with his team. Credit: Lachenal, François and Weise, Harald T. (eds), Ingelheim am Rhein 774-1974. Geschichte und Gegenwart, Ingelheim am Rhein, 1974, p. 290

Further excavations were carried out between 1960 and 1970 by Walter Sage Fig. 38, using stratigraphy for the first time. He showed that the ‘Saalkirche’ was only built after 900. The division of the construction of the Pfalz into three main periods (Carolingian, Ottonian and Hohenstaufens) was a valuable contribution this excavation was able to make.62

Fig. 38: Excavator Walter Sage (on the left side) with his team. Credit: Bildarchiv Generaldirektion Kulturelles Erbe Rheinland-Pfalz

Fig. 38: Excavator Walter Sage (on the left side) with his team. Credit: Bildarchiv Generaldirektion Kulturelles Erbe Rheinland-Pfalz

More recent excavations of the Pfalz at Ingelheim are taking place since 1993 directed by Holger Grewe.63 The investigations so far mainly concentrate on the Aula regia and the so-called Heidesheimer Tor (gate) situated at the apex of the crescent-shaped building. It was also possible to locate two former church buildings, which must have served as precursors to the ‘Saalkirche’ built in the 10th century.64 The unique gold coin of Charlemagne Fig. 30 was found in the periphery of the Pfalz complex in 1996.65

Site today

The management of the site takes into consideration both issues of heritage protection and conservation as well as tourism. After the termination of recent excavations, a selection of features were preserved in situ, allowing visitors to appreciate and understand them in their historic context and shape. This method was mainly applied to the key building periods of the Pfalz, which are presented as focal points within the area of the Pfalz. 66

The Carolingian founding phase is represented by the Aula regia. Fig. 16 It is one of the most important monuments within the area of the Pfalz. Visitors can still see the remains of the original exterior walls with door openings as well the original height of the floor.Fig. 15 A display wall with integrated texts, archaeological finds and two computer terminals can be used by visitors to find out more about the Pfalz during Carolingian times.Fig. 39 The interactive terminals make it possible to view a virtual architectural reconstruction of the original Aula regia, and to compare it directly to the present remains of the same site.67

Fig. 39: The display wall at the Aula Regia. Credit: Kaiserpfalz Ingelheim, photo Klaus Benz

Fig. 39: The display wall at the Aula Regia. Credit: Kaiserpfalz Ingelheim, photo Klaus Benz

An exhibition on the Ottonian Pfalz is situated in the northern wing of the ‘Saalkirche’. Fig. 22 Visitors can use written texts, display cases with archaeological finds and computer terminals to obtain information about the relevant topics. These include general information about the Pfalz during the Ottonian period, the construction history of the ‘Saalkirche’ and the sacred topography of the Pfalz at Ingelheim. The latter topic is complemented by a light projection from the church ceiling onto the floor, showing the three churches known to date (Trikonchos, single-nave apsis hall and Saalkirche) in the context of the overall Pfalz complex on a rotating basis.68 Fig. 40

Fig. 40: Pfalz at Ingelheim, ‘Saalkirche’. The light projection onto the floor, showing one of the three churches known to date. Credit: Kaiserpfalz Ingelheim, photo Michael Schlotterbeck

Fig. 40: Pfalz at Ingelheim, ‘Saalkirche’. The light projection onto the floor, showing one of the three churches known to date. Credit: Kaiserpfalz Ingelheim, photo Michael Schlotterbeck

Some of the most important and historically relevant finds like the solidus showing Charlemagne, a decorated strap end and a variety of architectural fragments are exhibited in the Museum bei der Kaiserpfalz.

References

59 Strigler, Philip, ‘Mittheilungen des Architekten Ph. Strigler in Frankfurt a. M. über die im Jahre 1875 zum Abbruch gelangten Baureste in dem Saale zu Nieder-Ingelheim’, Correspondenzblatt des Gesamtvereins der deutschen Geschichts- und Altertumsvereine, 10, 1883, pp. 73-78

60 Clemen, Paul, ‘Der karolingische Kaiserpalast zu Ingelheim am Rhein’, Westdeutsche Zeitschrift für Geschichte und Kunst, 9, 1890, pp. 45-148

61 Rauch, Christian, Die Königspfalz Karls des Großen zu Ingelheim am Rhein, Ingelheim, 1930 = corrected offprint from Rodenwaldt, Gerhardt (ed.), ‘Neue deutsche Ausgrabungen’, Deutschtum und Ausland, vol. 23/24, Münster, 1930
Rauch, Christian, Die Geschichte der Ingelheimer Königs- und Kaiserpfalz, Beiträge zur Ingelheimer Geschichte, vol. 11, Ingelheim, 1960
Rauch, Christian, Die Ausgrabungen in der Königspfalz Ingelheim 1909-1914, Monographien des Römisch-Germanischen Zentralmuseums, vol. 2, Mainz, 1976

62 Grewe, Holger and Sage, Walter, ‘Die Königspfalz in Ingelheim am Rhein. Auswertungen von Altgrabungen und neue Geländeuntersuchungen’, in Bergmann, Rolf (ed.), Mittelalterforschung in Bamberg, Beiträge aus dem Zentrum für Mittelalterstudien, Forschungsforum. Berichte aus der Otto-Friedrich-Universität Bamberg vol. 10, Bamberg, 2001, pp. 50-57
Sage, Walter, ‘Die Ausgrabungen in der Pfalz zu Ingelheim am Rhein 1960-1970′, Francia. Forschungen zur westeuropäischen Geschichte, 4, 1976, pp. 141-160

63 Grewe, Holger, ‘Der Neubeginn archäologischer Ausgrabungen in der Königspfalz zu Ingelheim’, in Henn, Karl Heinz and Kähler, Ernst (eds), Karl der Große in Ingelheim – Bauherr der Pfalz und europäischer Staatsmann, Beiträge zur Ingelheimer Geschichte vol. 43, Ingelheim, 1998, pp. 25-47
Grewe, Holger, ‘Geschichte und Neubeginn der archäologischen Forschung in der Königspfalz zu Ingelheim am Rhein’, Acta Praehistorica et Archaeologica, 30, 1998, pp. 177-184

64 For more detail on the church buildings of the Pfalz see
Grewe, Holger, ‘Kontinuität – Diskontinuität. Neue Beobachtungen zur Sakraltopographie der Pfalz Ingelheim im Früh- und Hochmittelalter’, Mitteilungen der Deutschen Gesellschaft für Archäologie des Mittelalters und der Neuzeit, 17, 2006, pp. 37-42
Grewe, Holger, ‘Die bauliche Entwicklung der Pfalz Ingelheim im Hochmittelalter am Beispiel der Sakralarchitektur’, in Ehlers, Caspar, Jarnut, Jörg and Wemhoff, Matthias (eds), Zentren herrschaftlicher Repräsentation im Hochmittelalter: Geschichte, Architektur und Zeremoniell, Deutsche Königspfalzen: Beiträge zu ihrer historischen und archäologischen Erforschung, vol. 7 = Veröffentlichungen des Max-Planck-Instituts für Geschichte, vol. 11/7, Göttingen, 2007, pp. 101-120
Schulze, Britta, ‘Die Sakraltopographie der Königspfalz Ingelheim’, Heimatjahrbuch Landkreis Mainz-Bingen, 2006, 2006, pp. 90-95

65 For more detail on the gold coin see Grewe, Holger, ‘Goldmünze Karls des Großen aus der Kaiserpfalz Ingelheim’, in Wamers, Egon, Die Macht des Silbers. Karolingische Schätze im Norden. Katalog zur Ausstellung im Archäologischen Museum Frankfurt und im Dom-Museum Hildesheim, Regensburg, 2005, pp. 77f.

66 ‘Denkmaltourismus. Überblick. Die Kaiserpfalz heute’, http://www.kaiserpfalz-ingelheim.de/ueberblick_kaiserpfalz_heute.php, accessed 6 June 2013
Ferch, Katharina, ‘Denkmal Kaiserpfalz Ingelheim: Unsichtbares sichtbar machen’, Archäologie in Deutschland, 5, 2009, pp. 66f.
Grewe, Holger, ‘Palast – Ruine – Denkmal. Konzeptionelle Grundsätze für das Erforschen, Bewahren und erschließen der Kaiserpfalz Ingelheim’, in Müller, Martin, Otten, Thomas and Wulf-Rheidt, Ulrike (eds), Schutzbauten und Rekonstruktionen in der Archäologie. Von der Ausgrabung zur Präsentation. Xanten, 21.-23. Oktober 2009, Xantener Berichte, vol.19, Mainz am Rhein, 2011, pp. 305-327

67 ‘Denkmaltourismus. Kaiserpfalz. Aula regia’, http://www.kaiserpfalz-ingelheim.de/denkmaltourismus_kaiserpfalz_04.php, accessed 6 June 2013

68 ‘Denkmaltourismus. Kaiserpfalz. Saalkirche’, http://www.kaiserpfalz-ingelheim.de/denkmaltourismus_kaiserpfalz_05.php, accessed 6 June 2013

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