Over a great distance, an eighty metreslong white wall can be discerned. The construction technique is well-known in the Mediterranean basin but north of the Alps it is unique.
The wall is of air-dried mud bricks on a foundation of limestone. It was reconstructed according to the original structure, together with several buildings inside, such as a workshop, residential building and storehouse. This gives us a clear idea of life in the Heuneburg area some 2500 years ago.
Mud Brick Wall with Danube Gate
(c. 600-530 BC)
The mud brick wall – unique in the region north of the Alps – has been partially reconstructed. Architectural expertise was transferred from the Mediterranean to the northern alpine region along with trade goods, such as Mediterranean ceramics and wine. A mud brick wall with a gate leading to the Danube was (re-)built on the ancient limestone base. The surviving mud bricks from 600 BC were discovered along with the limestone foundation. These, however, had become completely waterlogged and could not be reused for the present reconstruction of the wall. The well-preserved remains of the original 3m (10-feet) wide wall base were integrated into the reconstruction. Replacements for missing stones were cut at the quarry near the Hohmichele.
The reconstruction of the wall using air-dried mud bricks caused many problems. It was important, however, that in accordance with the archaeological record, the wall was completely (re-)constructed out of air-dried bricks. The assumption was made, that the wall had been about 3m (10 feet) high. Based on archaeological evidence, the outer surface of the wall had had a moisture-resistant limestone whitewash. The walkways along the battlements, evidenced by charred wood on both sides of the wall and drains parallel to the inner face of the wall, were anchored 70cm (28 inches) beneath the wall crest. The weight of the mud bricks supports the walkway even with a strong wind blowing. For the pitched roof 80cm (32-inch) shingles were selected.
Five Houses along the Wall
(c. 600-530 BC)
The built-up area on the Heuneburg contemporary with the mud brick wall was dense enough to be considered urban. Rows of houses running north-south give the impression of being planned. Three buildings stood inside the southeast corner of the mud brick wall – a dwelling, a workshop, and a storehouse. The dwelling and workshop have been reconstructed on their original sites.
The reconstructed small storehouse between the two larger buildings has been built on posts and stands as close as possible to the reconstructed dwellings. The dwelling and storehouse are covered with thermally efficient thatched roofs. The workshop used for bronze casting, however, has a shingles due to the greater fire danger from the smelting and warming oven operated at over 1000°C (1800°F).
All reconstructed rooms in which open fireplaces are operated were surrounded by “wattle and daub” walls (woven wooden stakes, or wattles, daubed with a mixture of clay and sand). Within the dwelling, „furnishings“ were added in a way that is recommended to be as authentic as possible: shelving with tableware, cooking utensils and food containers; a vertical loom as one would expect in every household; bed and trunk showing that furniture already existed in early iron age; and not to be forgotten, an open hearth for cooking. Today the workshop building is used again as an experimental bronze workshop, in which processes are carried out, as they revealed by excavations, for example investment casting.
In 2006 two additional houses in the same rows were constructed in to serve the demands for museum-based education.
The Manor House or Princely Residence
(after c. 530 BC)
The manor house was relocated westward from its original archaeological site to avoid the impression that the building belonged to the same era than the mud brick wall.
At the time of the manor house with its 400m2 (4300 square feet) the Heuneburg was surrounded by a wood-and-earth-wall in the local style as a defensive enclosure. The interior built-up area on the Heuneburg also changed completely. Now the regular rows of houses were gone, the known settlement with buildings of widely varying sizes facing in all directions was dominated by the manor house on the south.
The inner divisions of the manor house could not be determined completely by the archaeologists. Therefore, there is now a large central space available for events; the western annex is reserved for museum pedagogical purposes.