David BIBBY1 / Ralph RÖBER2
(1Regierungspräsidium Stuttgart / 2Archäologisches Landesmuseum Baden-Württemberg, Germany)
Keywords: inhumation, cemetery, stratigraphy
During the extensive excavations of 2003 – 2007 to the north of the Minster in Konstanz, famous for the final and irrefutable discovery of extensive and substantial Roman architectural remains, 145 medieval inhumations of the “Lower Minster Cemetery” were also uncovered in layers overlying the Roman and Iron Age phases. Due to the structure and character of the redevelopment which the rescue dig preceded, the depth of excavation varied across the site. It must therefore be surmised that the burials were originally more concentrated and denser than could be revealed by limited excavation. Still, the sample is good enough to show that the burials are not uniformly distributed across the graveyard. Whilst up to six overlying inhumation layers could be recognized adjacent to the Minster, the burial density thinned out toward the north and east. Even though the graves are generally east-west oriented, the deviations from this norm are so obvious that they must represent different periods of burial activity. In order to quantify these deviations the graves were divided into four “angle-groups” of 60-80°, 80-100°, 100-120° and over 120° which were then analyzed in virtual three dimensional space. This approach was made possible by the techniques chosen at the beginning of the excavation for on-site recording and documentation. The 2D digital photogrammetry and digitalization of each and every skeleton and their individual positioning in 3D space enabled 3D analysis of the stratigraphic and topological relationships both between individual skeletons, the grave “angle-groups” and the surrounding ecclesiastical buildings in various combinations, leading to interesting chronological and topographic conclusions on the nature of the cemetery.