The Lost Fort

My Travel and History Blog, Focussing mostly on Roman and Mediaeval Times


27 May 2013
  I'll Be Away

Until midst of June, hunting some more castles and churches. But I won't leave you without some photos to tide you over.

Entrance to the harbour of Newcastle (seen from Tynemouth) - my usual way to the UK

I got several castles on my list, as I mentioned a few weeks ago. I'm looking forward to Bamburgh and Alnwick especially, and Dunottar - that one looks like the sort of Let's See If We Can Put a Castle Here The Wind Won't Blow Away.

Edinburgh Castle

There should be some churches, too (Whitby fe., if I can sneak it into my schedule). I also really hope the weather and the tides will allow me to visit Lindisfarne. The same goes for some of the places on the Orkney (like Birsay).

Inchcolm Abbey

Let's also hope I packed the right stuff. I do pack for every weather but if the same ol' rain stays put for two weeks, I may run out of dry stuff nevertheless. Well, right now the same ol' rain is pretty busy in Germany and that's where it can stay as long as I'm not there. Lol.
 


21 May 2013
  The Imperial Palatine Seat Tilleda - Fortifications

I have mentioned Tilleda a few times already since it's one of the rare examples of a Medieaval palatine seat of which more remains than some crumbled earthen walls and a sign. Werla, albeit double the size of Tilleda shows only a few of those today, Grona has become a suburb of Göttingen, in Pöhlde only some foundations remain. Of course, most of what we can see in Tilleda has been reconstructed - earthen walls and wattle and daub houses don't preserve well - but it is the only complete complex of the sort. In Goslar, only the great hall has been restored, albeit it is a most splendid example.

Tilleda, gate of the outer bailey. The way it is drawn in between the walls enabled the defenders to throw all sorts of pointy, hot, or otherwise interesting things on attackers.

Tilleda is first mentioned as Imperial Palatine seat (imperiatoris corte) in a charte dating to 972, where it is listed among the lands Otto II gave his wife, the Byzantine princess Theophanu, as dower. But the castle on the Pfingstberg hill must have been in existence since the early 10th century (1). But Tilleda surely was part of the net of palatine seats in Thuringia and Saxony already at the time of King Heinrich I.

Palatine seats, sometimes also known as royal vills in England, were needed because for one, the king had to show his presence to the people, second, taxes were paid in food could not be transported and stored over long distances but were eaten on the site. Therefore, Mediaeval kings did a lot of traveling and wanted to stay in places of some comfort.

Outer gate seen from the inside with some wattle and daub houses in the foreground

The Pfingstberg hill lies north of the Kyffhäuser mountain ridge, a place that has become famous for the legend of the emperor Friedrich Barbarossa sleeping deep inside the mountain to return in time of great need. So far, no one has seen him, but he got a big, kitchy 19th century monument on top of the mountain. If that didn't wake him from of his sleep; I doubt anything will. *grin*

View from the gate to some houses, with the Kyffhäuser in the background

The seat of Tilleda has a trapezoid shape and covers an area of 5.6 hectares (about 350x250 metres). The part of the hill where the main castle is situated has steep slopes that go down 25 metres on three sides, they were additionally fortified by a trench and wall, partly of stone, partly as timber palisades. Only to the west the land is flatter, but still some 10 metres above the surrounding terrain where the outer bailey is situated, once protected by walls of mortared ashlar (see below). Another, second outer bailey on the southern terrace near the river Wolwede has been excavated but not reconstructed.

The ground of the hill is sandstone on a layer of Zechstein gypsum which led to a rockfall probably in the early 11th century which destroyed part of the main hall in the northeast corner of the castle.

Interior of the outer gate, with my father looking out for enemies

The castle with the main hall, church and living quarters for the nobles - several of them with hypocaust heating - is separated from the outer bailey by a system of walls and trenches. Most of the buildings in the main castle were made of stone, or at least had stone foundations, though the hall was rebuilt as pillared longhouse after the rockfall. I will get back to the remains of those in another post.

The main wall with the palisades and the gate - in its second, stone version with timber upper storey - have been reconstructed, as well as one of the trenches.

Inner gate, seen from the outer bailey

The area between the main castle and the outer bailey served as some sort of middle castle with a granary and the living quarters of the chatellain / administator during Ottonian times, but later, the fortifications were considerably strengthened. Maybe the defensive purpose of the place became more important during quarrels between kings and nobles.

We can trace a sojourn of Emperor Friedrich Barbarossa in Tilleda in 1174, and in 1194, Heinrich VI received the exiled Heinrich the Lion in a reconciliatory meeting. Considering the symbolic element inherent to such actions in the Middle Ages, it proves that Tilleda was an important place; such meetings didn't take place in some backwater village.

Inner gate seem from the remains of the church

The outer bailey, encompassing about 60% of the entire site, is the most typical feature of the palatine seats of itinerant rulers. This large outer bailey was protected by a wall of mortared ashlar, both of local origins (some of the gypsum pits have been excavated). These walls have later been used as quarry and were only partly reconstructed; the rest of the layout is marked by a low earthen wall. The original height of the ashlar wall is unknown.

There were a lot of houses, mostly of the wattle and daub type, but also some timbered ones, and a number of pit houses. They served as workplaces, storage huts, and living quarters for the people involved in producing pottery, weavings and iron products on which this particular seat obviously specialised.

Rampart with access from the inner bailey

Tilleda was a site on the territory of the former GDR, hence the reconstruction of working class housings rather than the king's hall. I don't know if there are plans to rebuild the royal hall as well, but it would be nice if they did.

The palatine seat had been abandoned by most of its inhabitants in the 13th century. Its purpose as housing for itinerant kings became useless when those prefered to live in the better fortified hilltop castles, and the various industries moved down to the Golden Valley (Goldene Aue) where the conditions obviously were more favourable.

View from the inner gate to the Kyffhäuser, with a pit house in the foreground

I'll get back to that unique place and show you some of the buildings next time. Some of them house Medieaval tools (looms and such) and give some glimpse of life in the 10th/11th centuries.

1) Chartes issued in specific places and the mention of sites in chartes only give very incomplete information about those sites, since much depends on chance of both historical events and preservation.

Sources:
Hans Eberhard, Paul Grimm. Die Pfalz Tilleda am Kyffhäuser - Ein Führer durch die Geschichte und Ausgrabungen. Halle/Saale, 2001

 


11 May 2013
  Pilot Boat

Just a little something today. Pilot boats were a constant feature during last year's cruise since pilots were required to navigate the harbours, rivers, the Stockholm archipelago and other tricky waters. And those little red things were fun to watch.

Pilot boat arriving, full speed ahead

I took those photos in the Stockholm archipelago on a late but still sunny evening.

Another shot

It was literally dancing on the waves. Very pretty.

Going alongside

So you can compare size. Shot taken from the aft deck of the Albatross.

And leaving

This one was fetching the pilot which another vessel had brought onboard earlier.

 




The Lost Fort is a travel and history blog based on my journeys in Germany, the UK, Scandinavia, and central / eastern Europe. It includes virtual town and castle tours with a focus on history, museum visits, hiking tours, and essays on Roman and Mediaeval history, illustrated with my own photos.


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I'm a blogger from Germany with a MA in Literature and History which doesn't pay my bills, so I use it to research blogposts instead. I'm interested in everything Roman and Mediaeval, avid reader and sometimes writer, opera enthusiast, traveller with a liking for foreign languages and odd rocks, photographer, and tea aficionado. And an old-fashioned blogger who still hasn't got an Instagram account.
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House Welf and House Staufen
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The Star Wars


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King Henry's Lithuanian Crusade

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The Dukes of Brittany and the Honour of Richmond
The Earldom of Richmond and the Duchy of Brittany

Contested Borders

Northumbria
King Stephen's Troubles with King David of Scots


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Kings of Scots

House Dunkeld
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King David and the Civil War, Part 2

Houses Bruce and Stewart
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The Early Stewart Kings

Scottish Nobles and their Quarrels

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A Scottish Wedding


Wales

Welsh Princes

The Princes of Gwynedd
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Rebels

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Denmark

Kings of Denmark

House of Knýtlinga
Harald Bluetooth's Flight to Pomerania

Danish Rule in the Baltic Sea

The Duchy of Estonia
Danish Kings and German Sword Brothers


Norway

Kings of Norway

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King Eirik's Scottish Marriages
King Håkon V's Swedish Politics
Beginnings of the Kalmar Union

A Time of Feuds

Famous Nobles and their Feuds
Alv Erlingsson of Tønsberg


Sweden

Troubles and Alliances

Scandinavian Unity
Beginnings of the Kalmar Union


Livonia
(Latvia and Estonia)

Towns of the Hanseatic League

Riga
The History of Mediaeval Riga

Tallinn
The History of Mediaeval Tallinn


Lithuania

The Northern Crusades

The Wars in Lithuania
The Siege of Vilnius 1390

Lithuanian Princes

The Geminid Dynasty
Troublesome Cousins - Jogaila and Vytautas


Poland

The Northern Crusades

The Conquest of Pomerania / Prussia
The Conquest of Danzig

Royal Dynasties

The Jagiełłonian Kings
Władysław Jagiełło and the Polish-Lithuanian Union


Bohemia
(Including Silesia and Moravia)

The Bohemian Kings of House Luxembourg
(to come)


Other Times

Prehistoric Times

Germany

Development of Civilisation
European Bread Museum, Ebergötzen
Open Air Museum Oerlinghausen

Orkney

Neolithic Orkney
The Neolithic Landscape of Orkney
Ring of Brodgar
Skara Brae
Life in Skara Brae

Scandinavia

Gotland
The Ship Setting of Gnisvärd


Post-Mediaeval History

Explorers and Discoveries

Explorers
Fram Expedition to the North Pole
Fram Expedition to the South Pole

Discoveries
Otto von Guericke and the Magdeburg Hemispheres
Raising a Wreck, Now and Then (Vasa Museum in Stockholm)

Biographies

European Nobility
Prince Wilhelm Malte of Putbus


Miscellanea

History in Literature and Music

History in Literature

Biographies of German Poets and Writers
Theodor Fontane

Historical Ballads by Theodor Fontane
(Translated by me)
Archibald Douglas
Gorm Grymme
Sir Walter Scott in Abbotsford
The Tragedy of Afghanistan

History in Opera

Belcanto and Historicism
Maria Padilla - Mistress Royal
The Siege of Calais in Donizetti's Opera

Not so Serious History

Romans
Building Hadrian's Wall
Playmobil Romans

Mediaeval Times
Kings Having a Bad Hair Day
The Case of the Vanished Wine Cask

Other
Rules for Writing Scottish Romances
Tourist Kitsch in St.Petersburg


Geology

Geological Landscapes

The Baltic Sea
Geology of the Curonian Spit
Chalk Cliffs on Rugia
Flint Fields on Rugia

The Harz
Bode Valley and Rosstrappe Cliff
The 'Hübichenstein' Rock
Karst Formations in the Southern Harz
The Lonau Falls
The Rhume Springs

Meissner / Kaufunger Wald
Blue Dome near Eschwege
Diabase and Basalt Formations
Karst Formations

Solling-Vogler
Raised Bog Mecklenbruch
Hannover Cliffs

The Shores of Scotland
Staffa

Fossils and Other Odd Rocks

Fossilized Ammonites
The Loket Meteorite


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