Augsburg: Roman heritage digitally via app – Bavaria

The Romans are said to rise soon in Augsburg, via app. “Digital Roman Experience in Augsburg” is the name of the project that is intended to make the Roman era at least a virtual experience for Augsburg residents and visitors to the city. For centuries, Augusta Vindelicum was the largest settlement in the Roman province of Raetia, i.e. the area between Passau, Constance, Brixen and the Limes near Weißenburg – making it one of the most important archaeological sites of this era in Germany. The state of Bavaria paid exactly 208,500 euros for the development of the app. Nevertheless, it is not even a consolation for the Augsburg museum landscape.

The Roman city of Augsburg has not had a Roman museum for many years, since the location in the Dominican church had to close for structural reasons. Instead, the city has set up a temporary museum, which as an exhibition venue does not come close to doing justice to the value of the finds. It’s as if the city were to close the stadium of Bundesliga club FC Augsburg, whose professionals would now have to play in front of a few hundred spectators at a district sports facility.

In the other large German Roman cities such as Trier or Xanten, nobody would think of leaving the historical heritage and its tourism potential so fallow. Augsburg prefers to adorn itself with the World Heritage title “Water Management System”, acquired in 2019, but still doesn’t really know what to do with it. In any case, the unwieldy title has not yet been an advertisement for the city.

Augsburg has the Fuggerei, which is internationally known. And the Puppenkiste, which is also an institution that Augsburg sometimes treats badly. And then there would be Roman-era exhibits of international stature. Silver treasure, weapons, tools, jewellery: the city archaeologist once said that other cities would build a museum for just one of Augsburg’s Roman finds. Augsburg, on the other hand, has had a concept for a new museum since 2009, just no money and no political will to set one up. And the Free State is also ducking away. The app, which has just been widely advertised in a statement from the city, makes sense and is correct, but it is standard for modern museum mediation. Actually, you first need a museum and then an app. Augsburg goes the opposite way – although it is unclear when a museum will ever come.

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