Ruins of a Roman stone mill near Mertesdorf

Karlsmühle near Mertesdorf

The Roman writer Ausonius, who worked at the imperial court of Roman Trier as the tutor of Emperor Gratian’s young son, composed the poem "Mosella" in AD 371. He also mentioned the Ruwer in this poem: "With wild whirls the Ruwer grinds the stones such as corns and saws the smooth marble blocks with shrill squeaks." According to this, the Ruwer Valley must have been home to corn mills as well as stone mills during Roman times.

It is known that marble slabs, diabase slabs and slabs of shell limestone sawn in large quantities were used to construct the magnificent buildings of Roman Trier. The marble was imported from the South in giant blocks, and cut to size for the construction requirements as close as possible to the city. Diabase, commonly known as greenstone, was found in the Grüneberg (green mountain) region, which borders the lower Ruwer Valley to the west. This is probably also where it gets its name from.

So far, the only ruins suggesting the existence of a Roman mill to be found in the Ruwer Valley are those at the Karlsmühle. In the middle of last century, Trier archaeologists found remarkably large square blocks of shell limestone – a substance foreign to the Ruwer Valley - in the drainage ditch of the Karlsmühle. Two Roman foundation walls today still also run up against this ditch, situated around 20 m from the present-day mill. A vast quantity of Roman roof and wall bricks were found, and part of a Roman floor screed unearthed, during construction of a channel through the Ruwer’s meadows in 1967. However, the most interesting discovery was made here in 1843, when the ruins of a Roman tomb were discovered near the point where the drainage ditch meets the Ruwer. The tomb bears a relief depicting a half-length portrait of a man and woman reaching hands. Above this, the relief was bordered by a capstone on which was engraved a mill stone turned by one single axle. This tomb is today housed in the Trier State Museum. A copy of the centrepiece can be found in the premises of the Karlsmühle. This tombstone may depict the owner of the Roman mill.

Öffnungszeiten: freely accessible

Karte des Ruwertals

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