Shaken Magdalenberg

A city center was rebuilt (DEB)

In the Roman city on the Magdalensberg around the late-Augustan to early Iberberian period (10-20 A.D.), massive reconstruction and new construction around the market place / forum can be determined.

In the 70 years of archeological diggings, evidence was collected that point to the destruction of a large area. This can be determined, for example, by:

  1. The reinforcement of collapsed or fractured terraced walls that were a meter thick .
  2.  A reconstruction of building and building complexes with layouts identical to the original.
  3. The back-fill and/or excavation of buildings for winning new open areas or construction areas.
  4. The back-fill of terraces for creating new urban areas
  5. The construction of large buildings on top of demolished buildings.

This damage is spread out over the following areas of the city:

  1. Northwest of the forum: thermal spring in the forum/ house for official receptions (1), market basilica /praetorium (2), T-building (3), WR-building (4)
  2. Southwest and south of the forum: central kitchen/inn accommodations (5), imperial casting house for gold bars (6)
  3. Southeast of the forum: south slope buildings (7)
  4. Northeast of the forum: workshop district OR buildings (8) and NG-buildings (9)

The finds indicate a catastrophic urban fracture. The city center was afterwards completely re-designed. The degree of destruction can be explained by an areal-affective natural event: an earthquake.

It is certain that the temple at the summit of the Magdalensberg that was completely destroyed was not rebuilt there. Instead, on the north side of the forum a monumental sacred building was erected. Furthermore, along the entire west half of the forum, public buildings found their place (administrative buildings, the court with a tribunal, and an imperial casting house for gold bars).

To underline these finds there is also a written record by the historian Cassium Did (book 24: 2-3). As one of the ominous signs indicating the defeat of Rome in the Battle of the Teutoburg Forest around the year 9 .D., he describes among other things an earthquake:

“[…] The alpine summits seemed to collapse onto one another and three columns of fire were sent aloft; in many places the sky looked like it was on fire […].”


The archeological research of the last five years have confirmed the catastrophic destruction of the city. The cellars on the south side of the forum, according to the findings, were back-filled with construction debris and fire debris between 10 and 20 A.D. The walls west of the forum basilica that were originally over 10 meters high were also fractured and collapsed and had to be reconstructed and / or reinforced with supporting abutments.

The findings of the original imperial cult temple (in room K) show especially clearly that it was expanded with a podest /tribunal and a basilica building in the east and repurposed to an administrative area. The site represents the oldest preserved judicial monument in the east Alpine region.

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