Preservation of Historic Buildings and Monuments

Köpenick, archaeological finds

Archeological Site at Köpenick Castle

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The clearing work on the water side of the castle was a complete success, particularly from the perspective of construction history. A previously unknown stairwell underneath the exit to the water, the so-called "water gate", had sunk completely under the filler layers. There were enormous "consoles" (scroll-shaped brackets) that supported the balcony on the water side positioned on the stairs. The stairwell was framed by three layers of bracketed limestone with lead. The bottom-most construction consisted of grate-style joisting (dendro date 1688), on which a plinth made of bricks had been erected. Many fragments of dishes, clay pipes, glass, and oven tiles from the 18th century were unearthed in the general vicinity of the stairs. The covering of the exterior wall on the water side of the castle and of the utility building with sandstone slabs, as well as the finding of layers of mud near the stairs give rise to the supposition that Köpenick castle was physically under water for some time. Additionally, Rutger van Langevelt, who began construction of the castle in 1677, was originally from Holland and was secure in the traditions of Dutch builders who knew about the art of construction in water areas. However, after several years, the area was being covered with water. This fact is connected to the rise of the water table (by approx. 1 meter) in Köpenick at the beginning of the 18th century. Today's castle was originally intended to be only one wing of a large three-wing facility open in the direction of the city. The main wing did not extend beyond the construction of the foundation. Work was still being performed there until 1705. In an archaeological inspection initiated by Wilhelm Unverzagt in 1938, larger sections of the foundation were revealed. On the water side of the utility building where the covering of the exterior walls was done with sandstone slabs, a section of a once larger grave ledger was discovered to be used within the covering. This is a fragment that has been dated from the 15th century based on its Gothic script. In this regard, Dr. Felix Escher writes (quotation): The inscription reads as filled in: (IN ANNO MILLESIMO QUARTO SEP)TUA (GE)SI(M)O IV IN DIE BARTOLOMEI AP(OSTOLI), translated: "In the year 1474 on St. Bartholomew's Day". The date of death for the possessor of the gravestone can thus be deduced as August 24, 1474. There is no indication of name or marital status or location of where he or she lived or died, or even the location - certainly a church or chapel - where the burial took place."

Dr. Felix Escher (Berlin) was so kind as to decipher the fragment of the inscription on the grave ledger.


Wolfgang Bittner (1), Author (2 and 3), C. Plump (4),
Ralf Drescher (5)


Waetzold, Dorothea:
"Ausgrabungen auf dem Gelände des Schlosses von Berlin-Köpenick" In: Praehistorische Zeitschrift, Volume XXVIII-XXIX, Issue 1/2


Unverzagt, Wilhelm
Berlin 1938, pg.356-365
Herrmann, Joachim:
"Ergebnisse der archäologischen Stadtkernforschung in Berlin, Teil I: Köpenick, ein Beitrag zur Frühgeschichte Großberlins"
In: Deutsche Akademie der Wissenschaften zu Berlin, Schriften der Sektion für Vor-und Frühgeschichte Volume 12
Schade, Günther:
"Schloß Köpenick. Ein Streifzug durch die Geschichte der Köpenicker Schloßinsel"
Berlin State Museums, 2nd Edition, Berlin 1966
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