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Vicus and harbour, Stockstadt

The largest "vicus" at the Main Limes was important for its advantageous location where the Gersprenz flowed into the Main. The civil settlement spread out in a ring around the cohort fort. The harbour was a central reloading point for goods.

The "vicus" in Stockstadt was established simultaneously with the construction of the cohort fort. The strip houses and other buildings were built along a road network.The Limes road was in the west (today: Wallstädter Weg).The roads leaving the fort as an extension of the "via principalis" led to the Limes road. In the northwest (Stadtweg) where the settlement ended, a cemetery with "ustrina" (funeral pyres) began. The largest settlement area was in the southeast of the fort, with workshops, baking ovens, and pottery works.

Another road ran parallel to the Main and led into a square in front of the harbour. The fort bath and the beneficiarius station, which operated from 166-208 AD, were located here. Next to this was a shrine to the nymphs with a well used for healing purposes. At the southern edge of the settlement there were the shrines of the Oriental cults, the temple of Jupiter-Dolichenus, and Mithraeum I (210 AD).

The road features reveal a layer of gneiss covered with fine gravel and canalisation on the sides, leading into the Main. The roads at the harbour were 9m wide.

The harbour was excavated 100m inland from the current Main shore. Oak posts that were fixed with horizontal beams were used to reinforce the river bank.


Construction of the vicus was probably simultaneous to the fort construction; burnt levels. A fourth century inhumation cemetery (Schönberger 1954) and coin finds in the northern area are evidence of new settlement after the fall of the Limes.


Category: canabae / vicus, beneficiarius station, harbour, shrine, kiln, Roman road

Strip houses; stone cellars;several pottery kilns, pottery works; baking ovens; road features; temples; harbour with bank reinforcement; burnt levels; hidden treasure of coins.

Monument Protection: Yes - UNESCO World Heritage Site, 2005

Research: The "vicus" of Fort Stockstadt is the most thoroughly researched vicus at the Main Limes. Emergency excavations were conducted before the construction of the paper factory from 1897-1907 under the engineer C. Wirth. From 1963 onwards, as the factory expanded, new excavations were made that provided further information on the "vicus".

ORL A, 3, 6, Nr. 33. Drexel 1910. Barthel 1910. Hilzheimer 1924. Schleiermacher 1928. Kunkel 1952. Schönberger 1954. Rattinger-Schneider 1959. Kellner 1963. Baatz 1969. Baatz-Herrmann 1982, 233f. Schönberger 1985, 465, D 63. Sommer 1988, 693. Wamser 1990.

Aerial photograph of the paper factory, fort area
Fort site and "vicus" with harbour in Stockstadt, from ORL B Nr. 33, Tafel I.
Fort area, Stockstadt, map from "Archäologisches Jahr in Bayern"
Main pathway, factory grounds
1 Aerial photograph of the paper factory, fort area © Bayerisches Landesamt für Denkmalpflege, München 2 Fort site and "vicus" with harbour in Stockstadt, from ORL B Nr. 33, Tafel I. 3 Fort area, Stockstadt, map from "Archäologisches Jahr in Bayern" © Bayerisches Landesamt für Denkmalpflege, München 4 Main pathway, factory grounds © Bayerisches Landesamt für Denkmalpflege, München

Bavarian State Conservation Office Landesstelle für die nichtstaatlichen Museen & Bavarian State Archaeological Collection with the support of the Bayerische Sparkassenstiftung