MAIN LIMES MUSEUMS

World HeritageLimes MuseumsLimes TownsTopicsMapsMediaNewsContact

There are many significant deposits of red sandstone in the Main valley. The easily formed material has been quarried since antiquity. Today, many stone buildings in the region are made of red sandstone. The stone comes from the Mesozoic Era and was part of a layer that runs through to northern Germany.

The technique of using a wedge to split stone was first used for stone quarrying in antiquity.
At Obernburg an Apollo relief and pieces of a "Hercules maliator" statuette were found in an abandoned quarry. These are believed to be the work of ancient stone-breakers. Roman stone-breakers were called "meliatores", or "malleatores".

Three deposits of the sandstone have been found in Miltenberg. At Greinberg, a c. 10 m high band begins at the height of 415m N.N. Many stone blocks fell and formed the "Blockmeer" (sea of blocks) to the north and south of the mountaintop. Two further quarries were at Wanneberg by Bürgstadt and at Heuneberg. Nevertheless, there is no clear proof of Roman quarrying, as the intensive use of the quarries over time destroyed all evidence. A scientific examination of the monuments and their origins has not yet been published.

At the Main and Odenwald Limes' countless decorative architectural elements and stone monuments were discovered, dug out, and reused. The lighter sandstone was prefered for stone monuments.

Usually local stone was used to build the forts. This explains the use of red sandstone for Fort Miltenberg, and basalt and granite for Fort Großkrotzenburg from the deposits in Kleinostheim or Hainstadt.

Literature:
Röder 1960, 70ff. Mattern 2005, 41ff. Neubert 2007, 22ff. Steidl 2008, 124ff.

Red sandstone deposits, Miltenberg
1
Abandoned stone quarry, Miltenberg
2
Excavation of stone blocks from Fort Miltenberg Altstadt at Springborn ditch
3
1 Red sandstone deposits, Miltenberg © Boundary Productions, Photo Eric Dobat 2 Abandoned stone quarry, Miltenberg © Boundary Productions, Photo Eric Dobat 3 Excavation of stone blocks from Fort Miltenberg Altstadt at Springborn ditch © 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