Biblical Archaeology Review 45:3, May/June 2019

Classical Corner: Checking Out Roman Libraries

By Christina Triantafillou

Biblical Archaeology Review

Excavations in the city of Cologne have uncovered the remains of Germany’s oldest library. In preparation for the construction of a community center by the Protestant church, an archaeological investigation of the site took place in 2017, yielding the extraordinary find of a Roman library dating around 150–200 A.D.

Cologne was founded by the Romans and declared as the colony of Colonia in 50 A.D. Colonia would later be named as the capital of the Roman province of Germania Inferior in 85 A.D. The newly discovered building is located in the heart of the city and in the corner of what was once its Roman forum, the political and economic center of a Roman city.

The rectangular building measures 30 by 66 feet with an annex on one of its long sides measuring 26 by 11 feet. Its concrete foundations are nearly 6 feet wide and visible to a depth of at least 11 feet. The significant size of the foundations suggests the building was at least two stories tall.

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