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Stubersheim – Mediaeval rural landscape

The case study plans to investigate the interaction of society and "nature" in middle ages, based on detailed information of former land use and spatial organisation of settlements. The area selected to be covered by archaeological prospection around the villages of Schalkstetten, Stubersheim and Bräunisheim is situated on the Alb plateau.

Previous evaluation of private surface find collections, systematic field surveys, aerial photographs, small scale geophysical prospections and archaeological excavations show the high potential of this region for landscape archaeology. There are several abandoned medieval settlements and roman villas within the study area. Some of them are archaeologically localised, others are just known from written sources and were just localised in a very rough accuracy by place names. Settlements of migration period and early middle ages are situated just in the periphery of the later villages, but they are different in terms of their relation to water resources in the karst region with a substantial lack of ground water. Whereas early settlements are located at sources near the rim, the later villages are situated on the top of these deposits and used wells.

Parallel investigations by partner RGZM will provide historical, archaeological and geo-archaeological data to provide the basis for a broad interpretation of the landscapes in terms of changing settlements, land use strategies and human impact on the landscape. The case study will offer a possibility for connecting landscape archaeological prospection with further research on environment and ecology.


Case Study 2011 - First Results

The LBI-ArchPro Mira/Måla multi antenna GPR - System.


An unknown roman villa near Bräunisheim.

The LBI-ArchPro magnetic multi antenna system pulled by a quod.

First interpretation of the magnetogram at a roman period villa.

© all LBI-ArchPro

The LBI-ArchPro Case Study includes an area covering some 15 square kilometres between the villages of Stubersheim, Bräunisheim and Schalkstetten. Intensive archaeological prospection is planned using the Ground Penetrating Radar (GPR), magnetics, LiDAR and aerial photography as well as classical field survey and soil analysis in form of phosphate measurements. The field work is coordinated by the Römisch-Germanisches Zentralmuseum Mainz, local cooperation partners are Baden-Württemberg's state department for the preservation of monuments and the regional council of Tübingen and Stuttgart (state department for the preservation of monuments) as well as affected municipalities. The major focus of the Case Study Stubersheimer Alb is an exemplary analysis of the temporal and spatial transformation of an entire landscape and the eco-historical as well as a human ecological interpretation. In the long term the case study will be included into a number of comparative studies conducted throughout Europe.

The test area is archaeologically well known  and shows a broad variety of rural usage . The area was chosen to explore and test the full potential of the developed prospection methods within an exclusively agriculturally used landscape. The interrelation between different archaeological sites located in such archaeological hinterland  frequently comprises difficulties, on the one hand through the usually encountered large distances between contemporaneous settlements, on the other hand through its often long term or continuous usage as a rural area. The complete mapping of the entire area will be one of the goals over the next three years, providing the basis for further archaeological research and interpretation of the sites and their relation in this specific landscape.
The analysis of the first prospection data acquired in April 2011 shows a surprisingly dense settlement in the Roman cultural landscape. Near Bräunisheim two Roman estates were found and mapped with magnetic and GPS surveys, imaging the structures in great architectural detail. One of the Villa Rusticae shows a patio surrounded by a row of columns, as well as parts of the bath. Next to one of the estates additional structures were detected, possibly representing parts of grave monuments. Near the well-known Roman road between Castell Urspring and Heidenheim details of a wooden settlement surrounded by palisades and a ditch were found. It is possible that some of the newly detected structures are caused by remains of the 1225 mentioned, and sought after hamlet of Wolfgerswilar.