20 Schilling view of Semmering, © Niederösterreich-Werbung/ M. Liebert

The town of Tulln – the ancient Comagena

Historical sites

Description

A Roman cavalry fort called Comagena – part of the Danube Limes – once stood on the site of present-day Tulln.

Tulln has been a hotspot of urban archaeological research in Lower Austria for many decades. The reason for this is the Roman fort that housed a cavalry unit (ala) of 500 men, the ala I Commagenorum. The fort protected the Danube Limes that ran here from the first to the fifth century AD. Archaeologists initially focused on locating this fort, which was situated to the west of the railway line and was bordered by two roads: Wienerstraße to the south and Nibelungengasse to the west. In the fourth century, Comagena was expanded with the addition of fan-shaped corner towers and horseshoe-shaped towers, including the well-preserved Salzturm (salt tower).

 

The Roman civilian town

To the west of the fort was the civilian town with its adjoining cemetery area, where large-scale rescue excavations took place from 2005 to 2008. Around 600 Roman graves were saved, including many cremation burials from the first to the third century as well as inhumations (whole body burials), which were commonplace from the fourth century onwards. Traces of the civilian and craftsmen’s settlement were found during excavations at the Minoriten Monastery, in the Albrechtsgasse/Donaugasse area, at the main square and on the site of the Rosenarcade shopping centre. High building density was documented, with houses in rows and numerous earth cellars and wells.

 

A new start in the Early Middle Ages

Current archaeological findings suggest that the fort and probably also the camp villages were abandoned during the fifth century AD. Whether the early medieval settlement of the ninth century was indeed a new start or whether Tulln was in fact inhabited throughout the entire period is currently being investigated through research into continuity and change in the Danube region between Late Antiquity and the Early Middle Ages.

 

Tip: the Roman Museum in Tulln’s municipal museum focuses on the history of Comagena’s fort and civilian settlement and on exhibiting and showcasing finds these sites.

Location and how to get there

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    Die Stadt Tulln – das antike Comagena

    3430 Tulln an der Donau
    AT

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