Station: [309] 12th Century Town Foundations

In 1015 Thietmar of Merseburg noted „urbe Libzi vocatur“ in his chronicles in reference to the death of Bishop Eid of Merseburg: „Urbe Libzi vocatur“, the castle called Lipzi “, was a fortified settlement with a Slavic name and a predominantly Slavic population. Almost two hundred years were to pass before it was granted the town charter. 

In the 12th century, the enormous population increase during the development of the land and expansion of the economy led to a large number of town foundations in Saxony. These towns often developed from old settlements that had been established close to a castle, which offered craftsmen and merchants’ protection and a sales outlet for their wares.  

The deciding factor for the foundation of a town was a healthy market. This was reflected in the central position of the market square from which the streets and lanes radiated in a right-angled grid pattern. Many Saxonian towns were based on and expanded from this design. Over the course of many years a town would grow and evolve to include churches, town halls, monasteries and town fortifications.   

The displayed archaeological discoveries tell us the 700-year story of town life. Horse and rider equipment belong to it just as much as dice and coin holders or musket pellets and lance tips.

Do you know what a alnage stamp is? Well it’s almost unnoticeable in comparison to the horseshoe next to it, but its appearance is deceptive: it was the seal of quality for certain wares and could cost a merchant his neck if he used it inappropriately

Have a look at the neighbouring showcase and at a different urban settlement design plan: that of the mountain town on Treppenhauer mountain.