ROMAN CHAMBER GRAVE IN COLOGNE-WEIDEN
The Roman chamber grave in Cologne-Weiden is almost nine kilometres to the west of the ancient city, at Aachener-Strasse 1328. It was found by accident during excavation work in 1843. In 1846, a protective building was erected over it,designed by the cathedral's master builder, Ernst Friedrich Zwirner, on the orders of the Prussian State. Steps lead down 6 metres below the modern street level to the rectangular chamber grave measuring 3.6 x 4.5 m with a height of 4.2 m. It was constructed of large tuff blocks, while the sides of the door and the lintel are made of red sandstone blocks.
The three main niches in the walls resemble couches (klinai) and are lined with coloured marble. Other niches (loculi) in the walls of the chamber were probably for the deposition of grave goods and sacrificial offerings. Also in the chamber were two armchairs made of limestone but imitating cane chairs. In the main niches were busts of two women and a man carved in Carrara marble, probably portraits of the deceased. There were also fragments of a superior-quality Carrara-marble sarcophagus with relief decoration, one of the so-called four-seasons sarcophagi. It had been made in Rome and transported to Cologne. The decoration consists of a medallion containing the portraits of the deceased couple, held up by two goddesses of victory flanked by allegories of the four seasons. The chamber grave was probably constructed in the first half of the 2nd century. A new grave area was added in the 3rd century, in which the sarcophagus was placed. This was the burial place of a wealthy family whose farmstead was in the immediate vicinity. It seems to have been in use until the middle of the 4th century.
A viewing appointment can be arranged
by telephone: 02234 73399