Roman estates constituted the real economic spine of the Raetian province and characterized the landscape over three centuries.
They were usually built following the same design: the living quarters were grouped around an inner courtyard and had in part an underfloor heating system. In addition country houses were usually provided with baths, sheds, barns, storerooms and servants’ lodgings. One of the main functions of a villa rustica was to supply both soldiers and civilians with agricultural products such as cereals, vegetables and meat. Many of these estates were located south of the Limes. The presence of circa 50 villae rusticae could be proved just in the district of Eichstätt!
In the Romans’ Footsteps in the Altmühltal Nature Park
1) Roman Estate near Hüssingen
Archaeological remains of this former Roman estate were preserved as an open-air site, which is situated circa 0.93 mi (1.5 km) south-east of the village’s centre. Originally animal husbandry was mainly run here; it was possibly a sort of pasture used only in the summer. If compared to other objects found in the vicinities, the equipment excavated here was much simpler.
2) Vineyard Estate near Treuchtlingen
The partially reconstructed remains of a villa rustica are to be found 0.93 mi (1.5 km) north-east of Treuchtlingen on the southern slope of the mount Nagelberg. The ground plan of the main building is recognizable. Finds are displayed at the ethnographical museum Volkskundemuseum at Treuchtlingen.
3) Roman Estate near Möckenlohe
The main building of a large Roman estate was entirely re-built on the well preserved original foundation walls. All finds are exhibited in the museum expressly mounted on the spot. A small zoo gives the visitors – children in particular – the possibility of observing Roman domestic animals such as woolly pigs, long-horned cattle and small horses.
Was This the Villa of an Imperial Governor?
A memorial plaque in the playground beside the church of Westerhofen reminds of a sensational discovery: in 1856 the foundation walls of a palatial villa were uncovered. A floor covering mosaic in brilliant colours was found in its atrium: it was 32,81 ft (10 m) long by circa 22,97 ft (7 m) wide. After visiting this unique mosaic, the Bavarian King Max II bought the entire plot of land and its art treasure, which was recovered and brought to Munich. Today it is one of the jewels of the national archaeological museum Archäologische Staatssammlung. The floor covering mosaic from Westerhofen is the only mosaic with figural compositions preserved in the whole of Southern Germany. The villa is supposed to have been the residence of the imperial province governor. In any case, it definitely had to belong to a very important and wealthy person.
– Vineyard estate in Treuchtlingen
– Roman estate in Möckenlohe, near Adelschlag
– Floor mosaic from the villa at Westerhofen