Research at LVR-APX
The APX protects an archaeological site of exceptional importance. The remains of the Roman city are preserved in a unique way in the soil under the meadows of the park. Ongoing excavations and diverse research projects into Roman life are carried out in the APX
Colonia Ulpia Traiana is the only major Roman city north of the Alps which has barely changed since ancient times. Its remains are only a few centimeters beneath the meadows of the APX and are therefore easily accessible for research. This situation makes Xanten a research center of international importance: this site offers the only opportunity to examine a Roman city in its entirety.
Excavations take place at the APX throughout the year. The results of these excavations enrich our understanding of the Roman city with ever-increasing numbers of mosaic tiles. These tiles form the basis of the reconstructions and all exhibition areas in the park and in the LVR Roman Museum.
Nearly twenty percent of Colonia has been recorded so far through excavations. This is substantially more than on other Roman sites such as Cologne or Trier, where the Roman layers were increasingly built upon over the centuries – or are already destroyed. Ultimately however, even a modern excavation results in the destruction of archaeological substance. Hence the researchers here in Xanten need to encroach very gently into the soil and document all traces of Roman life meticulously.
The goal in the protected area of the APX, therefore, is not to expose the largest possible area. The relatively small excavation team in Xanten focuses on locations where manageable interference with the ground is unavoidable for the expansion of the park, and on selected areas that promise specific insights into the Roman city.