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ECHTERNACH Luxembourg.

Site on the Sauer river occupied from palaeolithic times to the Middle Ages, and surrounded by other prehistoric sites (palaeolithic grottos, tools, skeletons; wall- and rock-engravings survive in the so-called Müllerthal). It was connected with the Ferschweiler plateau on the opposite bank of the river. A Roman vicus developed here which was in contact with Altrier and the Eifel; a Roman road connected it with the highway from Trèves to Bitburg and Cologne. Transportation on the Sauer river is attested by the epitaph of one Arecaippus buried near Bollendorf, a few km away. At nearby Weilerbach is a monument dedicated to Diana by Q. Postumius, which reused a megalith. There were remains of at least five Roman houses on the site called Schwarzacht in the 19th c.; two of them were investigated and proved to have central heating, baths, and marble mosaics with geometrical designs. Roman walls have been found under the Benedictine abbey built in the time of Willibrordus.

Excavations on the little hill where a 10th (?) c. church to SS. Peter and Paul had been built over a 7th c. monastery revealed that a Late Roman fortification wall of irregular circular form surrounded the partly artificial hill; the wall had a gate on each side, and the N and E sides had been specially reinforced. A pit 14 m deep provided the castellum with fresh water; it contained various objects dating from the Roman period on. Finds from Echternach include two winged genii holding a laurel crown built into one of the pillars of a bridge crossing the Sauer (Ausonius' Sura), an inscription dedicated to the god Intarabus and the Genius Patrum, the head of a marble statue, bas-reliefs showing a kitchen with several people preparing food in big bronze dishes, and a gold-framed cameo depicting Tiberius and giving the name of the artist: Herophilos, son of Dioskourides. The cameo came from the Echternach abbey, and is now in the Kunsthistorisches Museum in Vienna.


J. P. Brimmeyr, “Observations sur quelques anciens bâtiments de la ville d'Epternach,” Publications de la Section Historique de l'Institut Grand-Ducal 5 (1849) 65ff; 6 (1850) 74ff; C. M. Ternes, Les Inscriptions Antiques du Luxembourg (1965) no. 70; id., “Le camée d'Hérophilos,” Hémecht 22 (1970) 2; id., Répertoire archéologique du Grand-Duchcé de Luxembourg (1971) I, 65ff; II, 49ff; id., Das römische Luxemburg (1974) 54ff, 171ff.


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