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The rampart

A strategic structure for defence against the Romans

The rampart is one of the most important features which came to light during the archaeological excavations. It runs along the side of the Kalkriese hill and follows the route of the terrain.
Many details support the idea that the Germanic tribesmen built it up using sods not long before the Roman soldiers arrived. Traces of wooden posts were found inside the rampart. Presumably they supported a parapet made of entwined twigs and branches.

One can easily imagine that the rampart made of grass divots and fenced with a palisade of branches, lying between the moor and the forest hardly attracted attention. Nevertheless, it camouflaged the waiting Germanic soldiers perfectly from the view of the arriving and unsuspecting Roman soldiers. The Germanic soldiers had a strategic advantage.

However, a problem for the Germanic tribesmen was the water running down from the Kalkriese Hill which made its way to the moor in many small streamlets. To prevent the rampart from being soddened, washed out and eroded, the Germanic forces dug small ditches on the lower rear side of the rampart so the water could be drained off on both sides of it. Traces of these small ditches were clearly visible during the excavation.

The course of the rampart is marked in the park ground. Areas which have been thoroughly explored through excavations are indicated by metal poles, so-called stelae, standing close side by side. The course of the rampart which is not yet excavated but already verified by drilling investigations, is pointed out by stelae standing in slightly larger intervals. In addition to that, one part of the rampart has been rebuilt in the landscape intersection. Here, one of the passages was rebuilt, too, which were used by the Germanic forces to attack swiftly.