From 1993, after an interruption of more than twenty years, archaeological excavations were once again carried out in the Kaiserpfalz Archaeological Zone (AZK). In the same year, the Kaiserpfalz Research Centre of the town of Ingelheim was established as a specialist department for researching the town’s medieval heritage. Its work is based on a legal ordinance issued in 1992, which designates the hall area as a monument zone. It stipulates “the preservation and maintenance of the closely and inextricably linked remains of the Carolingian and Ottonian palace complex, including the remains preserved in the ground and houses”. The conservation and at the same time permanent presentation of the archaeologically uncovered monuments is therefore a central task of the research centre.

The aims of the scientific work under the direction of Holger Grewe (studies in medieval and modern archaeology under Walter Sage, Johann Friedrich University Bamberg, graduated in 1993) essentially comprise three points:

  • Excavations in previously unexamined or insufficiently documented areas

  • systematic, partly first-time evaluation of the old excavations

  • Summarising publication of the finds and excavation documentation since 1888

The most extensive archaeological campaign to date to investigate the imperial palace took place from 1994-1998. This was followed by further investigations in the entire AZK, which resulted in the restoration of the Heidesheim Gate in its predominantly Staufer building fabric, among other things.

Arbeitsfotos Ausgrabung Heidesheimer Tor

Excavation in the Kaiserpfalz archaeological zone (then Saalgebiet) in April 2000. Image: City of Ingelheim.

From 2010, the main focus shifted to the Palatinate periphery and in particular to St Remigius Church. Since the introduction of the Archaeological City Cadastre (AStaKat) as a planning tool in 2012, the tasks of the Kaiserpfalz Research Centre have included rescue excavations in addition to pure research excavations. Since 2017, the archaeologists have been active throughout the city as part of the Archaeological City Cadastre. Since then, archaeological traces that would otherwise have disappeared without a trace due to construction activities have been documented on several occasions.

Informing the public about finds unearthed during excavations requires their professional documentation, identification and preservation. Scientific analyses are also often necessary, which the research centre outsources to appropriate specialist institutes. On the basis of the resulting finds and research results, the Research Centre curates the permanent exhibition in the Visitor Centre and Museum at the Kaiserpfalz and designs special exhibitions. The first major special exhibition, entitled In the Footsteps of Charlemagne, brought Ingelheim nationwide attention in 2014. In 2019, the research centre focused on the travelling kings of the Middle Ages with the exhibition The Charismatic Place.

Another pillar of the Kaiserpfalz Research Centre is its cooperation with various authorities such as the General Directorate for Cultural Heritage (GDKE) and specialist institutions, including the Max Planck Institute for European Legal History in Frankfurt am Main (MPI-RG).

Exhibition The charismatic place 2019. Image: City of Ingelheim, Benjamin May.

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