An­cient Ro­man li­brary found in Cologne

Timeless Travels Magazine - - ARCHAEOLOGICAL NEWS -


2017 whilst ex­ca­vat­ing the grounds of a Protes­tant church to build a new com­mu­nity cen­tre, ar­chae­ol­o­gists found the re­mains of a large build­ing which they dated to Ro­man times. But they had no idea what it was used for un­til they found holes in the walls, each mea­sur­ing about 31 inches by 20 inches (80 by 50 cen­time­tres) – the per­fect size to house an an­cient scroll. The niches in the wall were likely “cup­boards for the scrolls,” Dirk Sch­mitz, an ar­chae­ol­o­gist at the Ro­man-Ger­manic Mu­seum in Cologne, said. “They are very par­tic­u­lar to li­braries – you can see the same ones in the li­brary at Eph­e­sus [in Turkey].”

Sch­mitz thinks the li­brary would have held about 200,000 scrolls and its dis­cov­ery is “re­ally in­cred­i­ble – a spec­tac­u­lar find,” he said. “Per­haps there are a lot of Ro­man towns that have li­braries, but they haven’t been ex­ca­vated. If we had just found the foun­da­tions, we wouldn’t have known it was a li­brary. It was be­cause it had walls, with the niches, that we could tell.”

The old­est pub­lic li­brary on record in Ger­many

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