(Regierungspräsidium Stuttgart, Germany)
Keywords: Antiquary, Romans, Interpretation, Excavation
In 1872 Ludwig Leiner, apothecary,city councillor,antiquary, scholar and self appointed city archaeologist wintnessed the digging of a narrow trench for a small gas pipe traversing the Cathedral Square (Münsterplatz) supplying Konstanz`s then new city lighting-system. He reported and published his observation in short statements in diverse learned journals of the time in succinct, clear wording, though without any sketches or illustrations.
During the following decades, his observations were repeatedly quoted in archaeological publications, though they were never given much weight. In some cases their very validity was questioned, even though Leiner described what he considered to be the remains of Roman architecture and, over the decades, the question of the Roman settlement of Kon-stanz has been one of the great remaining archaeological mysteries of the City. Why were Leiner’s observations so poorly received, not taken seriously or even misinterpreted by an-tiquaries and archaeologists? Where there there perhaps hidden motives? Or did simple misinterpretation of his note in the absence any sketches or plans lead to their negation?
During the Cathedral Square excavations in Konstanz 2003-2005 the gas trench seen by Leiner was revealed, slicing through the middle of the site. And it was once again possible to see what Leiner saw.
Finally the questions on his observations that had remained open for 130 years could be answered. Where archaeologists over the years right to make little of what he reported? Or, in the end, did Ludwig Leiner indeed have the last laugh?