The Heuneburg on the Upper Danube is one of the most important archaeological sites in Central Europe. In fact, it is considered to be the oldest town in the Northern Alpine Region. The excavated features leave little doubt that during the early Iron Age (circa 620 – 480 BC) the Heuneburg area was an important economic and political centre: a so-called Early Celtic Princely Site. Today it is assumed that the Heuneburg area is one of the places where Celtic art and culture developed.
Today the open-air museum Heuneburg presents a reconstructed section of the Celtic town complex with fortification, workshops and dwelling. The Heuneburg Museum in Hundersingen features the original finds from the many years of excavations on the Heuneburg.
On the History of the Heuneburg
After the spectacular discovery of gold objects in the grave mounds in 1876/77, it took a long time until the first excavations on the Heuneburg were carried out in 1921.
From Neolithic to medieval periods 23 settlement layers have been discovered. The heyday of the Heuneburg was undoubtedly the early Iron Age with 14 layers. Subsequently to a fortified wall in the local tradition, the Mediterranean-style mud brick wall was built. In its interior were closely spaced rows of houses. After about 50 years, the mud brick wall was finally destroyed by fire and never rebuilt. Instead, it was replaced by fortified walls of timber and earth. The orderly house rows of the mud brick-phase were not retained. In the south very large buildings (up to 400m² (4700 square feet)) were constructed. The interior plan was irregular with large buildings of different sizes.
The numerous finds give evidence on manufacturing many highest quality products that required great expertise. Among the imported goods traces of food such as wine, chickens and parsley have been discovered with pottery. It, however, can only be conjectured whether the early Celts actually adopted foreign customs.