ORL Day Eight: Kastell Zugmantel to Kleinkastell Meisel

The fort at Zugmantel, so important in Roman frontier studies in so many ways, is frankly a mess. Caged behind wire mesh, entering its compound is not exactly a path to enlightenment. The north and west ramparts can be made out, as can the location of the north gate, but the rest is so overgrown (it is, of course, in woodland) and riddled with unbackfilled excavation trenches that making sense of it is not on the cards.

Zugmantel rampart

It is easier to understand the amphitheatre, which is the only visible part of the substantial civil settlement, and which lies half way between the fort and the Limes, where the reconstructed tower and palisade may be seen.

Zugmantel amphitheatre

After admiring Zugmantel, we set out along the line of the frontier (the bank survives up to 2m high along here), aiming for a lunchtime stop at Dasbach. We followed the frontier above the village of Eschenhahn, but whilst the Limes was free to plough straight on, we had to zigzag downhill, passing through Eschenhahn, before climbing up out of the valley of the Auroffer Bach, and then descending into the valley of the Worsbach, crossing under an Autobahn (the E35) and a railway and over another railway. We rejoined the line of the frontier just before yet another reconstructed tower (WT 3/26) just south of Dasbach.

WT 3/26

Following lunch, we started climbing again, but this time we took advantage of a frontier BOGOF deal, because the Limes was split between an older (hinterer) and newer (vorderer) course, both of which are upstanding.

Junction of the Vorderer and Hinterer Limes

The two frontiers reunited before WT 3/29 and carried on in a straight line to near Kastell Alteburg, where an ancient open-market continues to be held. As the Limes strode directly over the Totenberg, we were forced to take a much less direct route until we at last rejoined it at the site of WT 3/36. Then we had a more-or-less straight run uphill to Kleinkastell Meisel.

Kleinkastell Meisel