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Blick in eine Vitrine der Dauerausstellung (Foto: A. Hoffmann/ LWL)

The archaeological exhibition - time travel within historic walls

Of emperors and royal splendor

How did Charlemagne and his successors live in Paderborn? Why did they build palaces in which they did not live permanently?

The permanent exhibition focuses on the historical walls of the museum and shows what prestigious buildings looked like in the early and high Middle Ages. Together with the cathedral, the imperial palace was not only the first, but for a long time also the only stone building in the area. The Carolingian finds from Charlemagne's palace show how the traveling king and his entourage lived during their stays in Paderborn: Jewelry, valuable tableware and tools, as well as glazed windows and colorful wall paintings, bear witness to the former splendor of the king's court.

Westphalia in the Early Middle Ages

Medieval historiography is dedicated to the ruling classes of society.

However, it does not report on the majority of the population, the citizens of Paderborn. Archaeological finds, however, also document the lives of the common people who lived from agriculture in the Early Middle Ages. Until the time of Charlemagne's Saxon Wars (772-804), the population of Westphalia was pagan. It was not until the late 8th century that they slowly adopted Christianity, as evidenced by jewelry and burial rites. A large number of swords, spears, bridles and other war equipment document the military conflicts that were far more commonplace in the Middle Ages than they are today.

From the Palatinate to the medieval city

Bishop Meinwerk (975 -1036) is considered the second founder of Paderborn after Charlemagne.

Shortly after his consecration as bishop in 1009, the Paderborn dignitary initiated numerous building projects. He had the cathedral restored and rebuilt the palace. The lively building activities are also reflected in the finds from the building sites of the late 10th and 11th centuries.

Windows into the past

During excavations in the Paderborn city center, archaeologists repeatedly find treasures that are worth showing.

The most beautiful pieces beyond the 12th century are shown in the "windows into the past". The Paderborn city archaeology section provides an insight into everyday city life at the time. At the same time, it illustrates the excavations from which the exhibits originate and how they were processed before being exhibited in the museum.

More about the city archaeology