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SCHWARZENACKER (Einöd) Saarland, Germany.

The present village originated about the middle of the last century, within the deserted Roman area in a place where black earth containing ashes was found and which was called the Schwartzacker. The chronicle of the nearby Cistercian monastery Wörschweiler (16th c.) states that there was once a town here as big as Worms. Details about the remains of buildings date from 1751. In 1783 Duke Carl II August of Zweibrücken had the adjoining necropolis searched for antiquities. Important finds were made in the 18th and 19th c. (a centaur's head from the Schwartzacker; the center piece of a shield with the depiction of a Ganymede). About 5000 silver coins were found dating from Caracalla to Postumus. Systematic excavations began after WWII. Initial smaller excavations (1954 and 1963) were continued in 1966 on a larger scale; so far an area of 1.5 ha has been excavated.

The Roman settlement covered a gentle slope bordered by the Blies (a tributary of the Saar), two brooks, and a steep slope. Streets crossed at right angles and generally had porticos. Among the buildings found, two distinct ground plans can be distinguished. The first, nearly square, had a court surrounded by rooms, some with cellar or hypocaust. The second was narrow but had considerable depth (45 m). On the street side was the housekeeping unit adjacent to a living room with hypocaust and another room with a cellar. Behind the garden was the latrine. These houses stood in a row, evenly spaced. The cellars were built of big blocks or stone slabs. The buildings on these foundations were either solid stone or timber framework. In the latter case the filling was of brick or loam. Square deep wells built of large stone slabs and stone “cold cellars” are characteristic. Smaller cellars were usually vaulted. On the cellar floor collapsed stone tables were found.

One house differed from the standard types. It had a hall with a full-length cellar (5.95 x 14.2 m). A row of five columns (two of them were table columns: round stone slabs between the column section) carried the wooden ceiling of the cellar. On one wall life-size figures were represented. Six bronze statuettes were found in the cellar: a genius populi Romani; a seated Mercury with wild boar, he-goat, and rooster; a standing Mercury; an Apollo, a seated Neptune; and a Victory. The house was probably the seat of a cult.

The streets were of gravel with an overlay of pebbles. Between portico and street were the sewage ducts which branched out from the individual houses. Fresh water was usually carried by wooden pipes. At one well a stone relief with Venus, Cupid, and the Three Graces was found. There are also stone effigies of Jupiter, Vulcan, and Epona. The inhabitants were cloth makers, weavers, smiths, and potters.

Undoubtedly this was one of the more important municipia between the Moselle and the Rhine and it is likely that equestrian sculptures found at Breitfurt farther down the Blies (the largest Roman statues found N of the Alps), were intended for it. However, the center of the town, where the forum might be sought, is today built up.

The last settlement was preceded by a smaller one of wattle-and-daub construction. It developed during mid Imperial times and finally extended over the necropolis that was located originally outside an earlier settlement. The graves date from the Bronze Age to the end of the Iron Age. A new necropolis was developed on a nearby hill. The settlement was destroyed by fire probably in A.D. 275. Since the site was located some distance from the important junction of the Metz-Worms and Trier-Strassbourg roads and had no other strategic significance, it remained unfortified. The sections destroyed by Germanic tribes were not rebuilt. The latest coin is from the time of Honorius. Annexed to Schwarzenacker are the porticus villa and the temple area of Bierbach. Cult places were also found on the nearby Klosterberg of Wörschweiler.

Since the town was not built over in the Middle Ages and since alluvial sand covered the ruins, the results of the excavations have been rich. There are many small finds of statuettes, utensils, building hardware, etc.


J. D. Schoepflin, Alsatia illustrata I (1751) 539-40; H. Meazel, Die römischen Bronzen aus Deutschland I (1960) nos. 14, 15; A. Kolling, “Die römerzeitliche Siedlung Schwarzenacker an der Blies, Kr. Homburg,” Germania 39 (1961) 483-85; id., Forschungen im römischen Schwarzenacker, I: Die Bronze-statuetten aus dem Säulenkeller (1967); ibid., II: Die Villa von Bierbach (1968); ibid., III: Der “Römerhügel” von Wörschweiler—Das frührömische Gräberfeld vom Bliesbergerhof (1969); id., Germania Romana, III: Römisches Leben auf germanischem Boden (1969) 70ff.


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