Oberstimm in Roman Times
The conquest of the Danube region
After the decline of the late Celtic oppidum in Manching, only a few rural settlements are known from around 50–30 BC in the area. When the Roman conquerors advanced from the foothills of the Alps and approached the Danube riverside in AD 15,they commenced colonising the region systematically. During the reign of the Emperor Tiberius (AD 14–37), the Roman legions erected several forts and a metalled road on the southern bank of the Danube. Under Emperor Claudius’ reign (AD 41–54) the construction activities on the Danube were completed with the construction of the fort at Oberstimm at the most eastern point.
Roman Military Presence in Oberstimm
The new fort was situated at a strategically favourable crossroads. To the South a road led directly to the capital of the Roman province Raetia, today Augsburg. Along the so-called “Donausüdstraße” (Southern Danube Road) the Romans were able to reach the western forts. Furthermore, the Roman occupiers had to secure the northern frontier at a river-crossing close to present-day Großmehring. The control of the border was carried out by equestrian units as well as patrol boats. Remains of such boats were recovered in the market area in Oberstimm in 1994, and are today presented at the Museum of Manching.
The Roman soldiers developed the local infrastructure, which resulted in the foundation of two new forts north of the Danube at the location of the present towns of Nassenfels and Kösching. This was the beginning of the occupation of the northern Danube region. The role of Oberstimm in this action was to store raw materials and to supply the North. Large hall structures found at Oberstimm could be an indication of this logistic role during the northern expansion. When the Limes was completed around AD 120, the fort lost its significance and was abandoned by the army. The civilian settlement, however,survived until at least the 3rd century.
General map of Oberstimm in Roman times. The St. Bartholomäus Church is located in the northeastern corner of the fort.
The map illustrates the position of the fort, the ancient river stream Brautlach and the finding spot of the Roman boats combined with the location of the present-day market place of Oberstimm (‚Barthel‘ market).
Reconstruction of the flood situation during the Roman period. The fort of Oberstimm was located exactly at the high-water limit.