Station: [8] The Jansburg

F: There’s a local archaeological monument called the Jansburg, though anyone going in search of it today will need to look very closely. Apart from a few stone remains, flattened earthworks and ditches, there’s not much left of the old castle. The Jansburg maintains an air of mystery in other ways, too. So what’s the story behind this complex in the middle of Lette’s Merfeld Moor? And who built the Jansburg?

M: Some believe the Jansburg may have served as a refuge and fortified shelter. In case of danger, people would have retreated there with their livestock. Critics take the view that the castle was not really big enough for that. So perhaps there’s another explanation: the castle may have helped to oversee a major trade route across the moor. So perhaps it served as an early medieval customs post.

F: Take a closer look at the castle’s ground plan. The circular fortification is around 100 metres or roughly 330 feet in diameter. You can see that the complex consisted of several earthworks and ditches. The ramparts were probably up to eight metres or 26 feet high, with the ditches up to two metres or six and a half feet deep.

M: Scholars haven’t been able to establish exactly when the castle was built. A few potsherds have been found, but they don’t tell us anything about the age of the complex. The castle may have been built by the Chamavi, – a West Germanic tribe that later merged with the Franks. If that’s the case, the castle’s origins go back more than fifteen hundred years.

F: However, its name, "Jansburg", originated much later, probably some time in the 19th century. It’s thought to be a reference to the hermit Johannes von Merveldt.

Fotos: © Heimatmuseum Lette