Research history

1898: The Roman baths at Mühldorf in Möllthale

In 1898, under the direction of Eduard Nowotny, a 300 square metre Roman bath building was successfully excavated on the Haselangerwiese in Mühldorf. The state of preservation in the frigidarium (cold area) and caldarium (warm area) in particular can be described as exceptionally good. Thanks to Nowotny’s excellent records, it was possible to gain important insights into both the heating process and the (waste) water management in Roman bathing facilities.

This historical archive photo from 1898 shows the remains of an ancient bath that were uncovered during an archaeological excavation.
Photo of the excavation in 1898

Photo: kä

2017: Rediscovery of the Roman bath building

The site in Mühldorf has been mentioned several times in the research literature, but no further research has been carried out. In 2017, a team succeeded in re-localising the site of the Roman bath building excavated in 1898 using ground penetrating radar measurements. The results of the measurements also showed that there was an extensive Roman settlement around the bath building. A surface survey was carried out in order to place the site in chronological order. The resulting finds covered a period from the Hallstatt period (1000-450 BC) to the end of Late Antiquity and the Early Middle Ages (500/600 AD).

The picture shows a large meadow on which four people are spread out. The person is carrying out ground penetrating radar measurements. In the background is a dense forest. There is a mountain above the forest.
Ground radar measurements in 2017

2018: Continuation of the excavations after 120 years

120 years after the first excavation on the Haselangerwiese, the second excavation campaign took place in 2018. This focussed on the Roman bath building and a residential building. Building B in question was covered by a fire layer around 20 cm thick. The finds from this layer indicate that it was destroyed around 300 AD. The first open day attracted over 180 interested visitors to the excavations.

Building B

2019: Where there is a bath, there is a settlement

In 2019, excavation work focussed on a Roman residential and commercial building. On the open excavation day, more than 300 visitors were fascinated by the ancient remains on the Haselangerwiese in Mühldorf.

The picture shows a guided tour of an archaeological excavation site. The lecturer is deep in the excavation. About 15 listeners stand in a group and listen to the words of the lecturer. The excavation site itself is secured by barriers. The audience stands behind it. A forest can be seen in the background.
Numerous interested people listen spellbound to the guided tour on Open Excavation Day.

2020: The Museum ARGENTUM project starts

No field research was possible in 2020 due to the Covid-19 pandemic. For this reason, working time was used efficiently elsewhere and the ARGENTUM project idea was born.

In the foreground of the picture is a tower-like sculpture that serves as a guiding element. Museum Argentum is engraved on this sculpture and an arrow points to the right in the direction of the museum entrance. Right next to the sculpture is the Celtic girl Matugenta, who has been photoshopped into the picture. In the middle ground of the picture is the Argentum Museum with a wooden façade. An imposing sculpture depicting a Celtic warrior stands right next to the entrance to the museum. The warrior towers above the building. A wooded mountain stretches out in the background.
The ARENTUM project idea was worked on diligently in 2020

2021: Opening of the Argentum Museum

In 2021, it was possible to dig again on the Haselangerwiese. This year too, the focus was on the areas around the bath building. In addition to the field research, the ARGENTUM Celtic and Roman Museum opened its doors on 3 October 2021.

The picture, taken from a bird's eye view, shows an archaeological excavation in the Mühldorf area in the foreground. Three people can be seen in the picture who are involved in excavation work.
The excavation in 2021

2022: The Celtic predecessor settlement was found

In 2022, excavations were carried out for the first time from the beginning of March to mid-November. Since 2018, the archaeologists had suspected a Celtic settlement as a predecessor to the buildings erected in Roman times. There was great joy when this assumption was confirmed. A Celtic defence wall covering an area of at least 20 hectares and several pre-Roman wooden building structures were discovered. Other buildings located under the Celtic defence wall turned out to be even older. The oldest traces of settlement on the Haselangerwiese date back to the Bronze Age, as proven by C14 analyses.

It was also possible to determine the total extent of the Roman baths. Attached to the 300 m² bath building was a courtyard area as well as potential tabernae, which now give a floor area for the bath complex of just under 700 m².

The Celtic defensive wall discovered in 2022
The Celtic defensive wall discovered in 2022

2023: Lateral entrance to the Celtic defence wall discovered

In the 2023 campaign, the Celtic defence wall was examined more closely. A side entrance was documented. It was also possible to archaeologically investigate other Celtic and Roman buildings.

In the scene, the two archaeologists Stefan Pircher, BA MA MA and Laura Lucia Pösendorfer, MA BA are in the foreground. Pircher proudly holds an ancient millstone in his hand, which they discovered at the entrance to the Celtic rampart in 2023. His black T-shirt bears the Afin logo (Archaeological Research Network Innsbruck), which is clearly visible. Pösendorfer, also with the Afin logo on her white T-shirt, is standing next to him. Both are wearing casual jeans. A forest can be seen in the background
In 2023, an ancient millstone was found next to the entrance to the Celtic Wall