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DUEL Austria.

A hill on the S bank of the Drau between the towns of Villach and Spittal, near Feistritz-PaterniOn (Carinthia, Austria). In antiquity it belonged to the territory of Teurnia (Noricum). It is an elongated, isolated hill (240 x 110 m).

A strong circular wall surrounded the plateau, attached towers and pillars strengthened the fortification. A gate flanked by towers stood midway on the N front. Heated barracks for living and unheated rooms for storage were added to the interior side of the wall. The larger part of the plateau was not built up. At the S edge, where the ground rises to form a small mound, are a few isolated buildings. At the highest point is a church (21 x 14.5 m) whose unusual plan is determined by the rocky subsoil. It could be described as having a nave and two aisles, but the aisles with their varying width and height are really lateral corridors each of which connected with the nave through two passages. The apse is the full width of the nave (7.15 m); it contains a semicircular bench for the clergy and in front of that, marking the location of the altar, a trough-shaped reliquary carved out of the rock. The floor was covered with a simple layer of mortar, and the partition between the sanctuary and the rest of the church was supposedly made of wood. A building to the E, perhaps the home of the priest, contained a square baptismal font built upon a quadrifoliate ground plan. A smaller building is interpreted as the house of the commanding officer.

The spolia used as building material (e.g. a votivara for Jupiter Depulsor, a statuette of Kybele) indicate a settlement of late antiquity. The complex doubtless originated between the 5th and 6th c. and existed for some time, as indicated by two building periods of the fortification wall. The hill of Duel is an instructive example of the resourcefulness of the population in the restless times of the migrations when the Roman Empire could not muster enough military strength against enemy attacks. The peasants in the low country withdrew to an adjacent hill they had fortified, and took with them their belongings and cattle. There was ample space in the walled area, which had been kept unobstructed for that purpose. For such fortifications a small church is characteristic. The Fliehburg on the hill of Duel can serve as an illustration for the castella of the diocese Tiburnia which are mentioned once in the biography of St. Severin (Eugippius c. 25). Architecturally, the complex consisting of fortification and a church prefigures the mediaeval castle with its chapel.

When the Goths moved through the Drau valley and laid siege to Teurnia ca. 472, this site was probably destroyed as a refuge. It was still in use in the 6th c., as indicated by an Ostrogoth fibula; final destruction can be attributed to the Slavs ca. 600.


R. Egger, “Ausgrabungen in Feistritz a.d. Drau, Oberkärnten. Der Hülgel bei Duel,” JOAIBeibl 25 (1929) 189ffMPI; id., Teurnia. Die römischen und frühchristlichen Altertümer Oberkärntens (7th ed. 1973); R. Noll, Frühes Christentum in Österreich (1954) 100ffP.


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