Roman mosaics | Attraction Guides | History Hit

Roman mosaics

Zofingen, Aargau, Switzerland

History Hit

24 Nov 2020

About Roman mosaics

Zofingen was once along a main Roman road and these well-preserved Roman mosaic floors are a small reminder of that time.

Zofingen Roman mosaics history

These artfully crafted mosaic floors and the remains of one of the largest Roman Villas in Aargau offer a snapshot into the long history of Zofingen.
In ancient times Zofingen was a settlement of the Celtic Helvetii. Around the middle of the 2nd century, at a time when Roman Switzerland was generally experiencing a cultural and economic boom, this villa and its mosaic floors were built.
The first written mention of Zofingen was in 1231, which in 1299 came in the possession of the Habsburgs. In 1415 the Bernese conquered the city and in 1528 they introduced the Reformation. Since 1803 Zofingen has belonged to the canton of Aargau and has become a regional centre. The entire village of Zofingen is designated as part of the Inventory of Swiss Heritage Sites.

The Roman estate was discovered by chance in 1826 when a hemp roast was being built. The following excavations, financed by the city, lasted until the autumn of 1827.The bathroom and the middle part of the residential building with the well-preserved mosaic floors were excavated. The ancient residence is over 100 m in length and, with its axially symmetrical construction, belongs to the villas with an open portico and protruding parts of the building.

The mosaic floors were in remarkably good condition. Two protective structures were built in 1830 in order to protect the mosaics from the weather whilst keeping them visible.

The entire homestead was enclosed by a courtyard wall. From the northern enclosure wall with the north gate and part of an economic building were found.  Because of the pottery and coin finds, the building is dated to around the middle of the 1st century. The complex has undergone various renovations over the centuries such as the bath complex and was in use until about the 4th century AD.

From 1938 to 1940, renovation work was carried out on the mosaics for the first time. The construction of a kindergarten on a neighbouring property led to further exploratory excavations in 1949. Between 1973 and 1975 the mosaics were extensively conserved and the protective structures were restored.The protective structures have been under the protection of the Swiss Confederation since 1975. In 1986 the Aargau Canton Archeology carried out further excavations in the southern part of the site.

Zofingen Roman mosaics today

The mosaics are usually during the day with free entry. There are picnic benches on the meadow between the two protective structures.

Getting to Zofingen Roman mosaics

The mosaics are located in Zofingen, Kulm. It is a short walk from town and the nearest train station which is Zofingen train station.

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