Monuments cannot always be seen at first glance, as is proven by Ruffenhofen Roman Park. Well protected from the weather, a Roman castle lies slumbering along with its camp village under a 40-hectare local recreation area. It’s well worth a visit, as even if no walls can be seen, some carefully planted hedges show where they would have stood. Text, pictures, casts and the model of the hidden fort at a 1:10 scale give visitors an impression of the everyday life of Roman soldiers and the civilian population along the external borders of the Roman Empire.
Images taken from the air and the geophysical views, which bring archaeological structures to light using magnetometers, earth resistance measurements and ground-penetrating radar, provide evidence that Ruffenhofen was once the scene of Roman camp life. The fort and its vicus – the corresponding market settlement – have been preserved under the ground. The fort is thought to have been constructed as a wooden building around 100 AD, and was probably rebuilt in stone some 50 years later. The internal dimensions of the camp show that this would have been one of the biggest forts on the Raetian Limes, as the frontier is known. It was occupied by around 500 troopers, and at times perhaps also by around 800 foot soldiers with at least 200 cavalry soldiers. Around 2000 people lived in the Ruffenhofen vicus. Merchants, craftsmen and service providers supplied the soldiers with a variety of foods, goods and all the things that make life more comfortable.
A viewing hill enables visitors to gain an overview of the entire Roman park, which is part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site “Frontiers of the Roman Empire”. Walkers can take advantage of an extensive network of trails, some following ancient paths dating back almost 2000 years. Those who wish to delve a little deeper into the history can do so in the LIMESEUM. The museum is right next to Ruffenhofen Roman Park and provides information about the place itself and life on the frontier. The Roman Park is freely accessible.