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Ten million euros for 18 years of research into Roman life

Date of news: 30 August 2022

Union of the German Academies of Sciences and Humanities has granted 10 million euros for the research project Limes und Legion. This will make it possible - over a period of eighteen years - to comprehensively study four Roman legionary fortresses in Bonn, Neuss, Xanten and Nijmegen. The project is a cooperation between Universität Bonn, Radboud University Nijmegen and Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München.

The legionary camps in Bonn, Neuss, Xanten and Nijmegen - whose troops in the early Imperial period still came from the Mediterranean heartland of the empire - were a kind of microcosm of Rome. This can be seen, for example, in the city-like military installations, diet and imports. The aim of the Limes und Legion research team is to decipher the wealth of information contained in these former Roman legionary camps and to preserve it for the next generation of researchers. Main applicant for the project is the Universität Bonn, in cooperation with Radboud University Nijmegen and Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München.

Nijmegen

The Nijmegen subproject will be permanently staffed by a postdoc, a PhD student and an assistant for the entire project duration of 18 years and will be led by Dr Rien Polak, Radboud Institute for Culture and History (RICH). The project is being carried out in close cooperation with the aforementioned universities of Bonn and Munich, the LVR-LandesMuseum in Bonn, the municipality of Nijmegen, the Gelderland Province archaeological depot, Museum Het Valkhof and the National Museum of Antiquities.

First time

Thanks to modern geophysical prospecting methods and remote sensing, we know that the immediate surroundings of the legionary fortresses were densely built up and intensively exploited. The finds from the camps and their surroundings, which have been collected and excavated over the past 150 years, will now be analysed scientifically for the first time. The project will start on 1 January.

The Union of Academies is the umbrella organisation of eight German academies of science. The joint research programme - the Academies Programme - serves to study, preserve and communicate global cultural heritage. It is currently the largest research programme in the humanities and social sciences in Germany and is internationally unique.