Billed as a “very unusual find” in the Netherlands, a group of amateur archaeologists unearthed a nearly 2,000-year-old complex of Roman temples honoring Hercules, Jupiter and Mercury.
The strange thing is that it is the first time temples have been unearthed on what was once the northern frontier of the Roman Empire.
The Rijksdienst voor het Cultureel Erfgoed, Dutch National Agency for Cultural Heritage, made the announcement.
“High-ranking Roman officials erected dozens of votive stones to thank deities for fulfilling their wishes. These were not always related to winning battles,” the agency noted.
“Just surviving a stay in these northern regions, sometimes far from home, it was often reason enough to give thanks.”
The location of the temples is in the town of Herwen-Hemeling, in the eastern region of Gelderland, near the border with Germany. It is located near the Roman Limes, a UNESCO heritage site.
The history of Roman temples in the Netherlands
The temples were built between the 1st and 4th centuries: the first is of Gallo-Roman origin, with a tiled roof and colorfully painted walls. The other was smaller, located a few meters away.
They were specifically dedicated to Hercules Magusanus, Jupiter Serapis and Mercury, the researchers explain, although more gods are not ruled out.
They also found artifacts such as the remains of statuettes and sacrificial pits. There are also cape pins and tiles with inscriptions.
Some of the finds will be displayed in a local museum in Nijmegen, according to the agency, cited by DW.
According to the investigators, the complex was built by soldiers, since the military were responsible for the manufacture of the tiles. were also found spearheads and complete spears, along with remains of military armor and horse harness.