Published online by Cambridge University Press: 05 September 2013
In 2005, the Limes Museum in Aalen was provided with new media equipment, including a virtual reconstruction of Roman Aalen. At the same time a partial reconstruction of a Roman cavalry barracks was constructed at 1:1 scale in the adjacent archaeological park. These new installations jointly convey to visitors an impressive and easily understandable picture of the Roman past. These reconstructions play a vital educational role in establishing the limes in the public consciousness, thereby helping to ensure better protection of the archaeology.
The fact that large parts of the Upper German-Raetian limes lie hidden in the ground, invisible to the observer, distinguishes the limes from many other World Heritage sites. An understanding of the sensitive archaeological monument is significantly impeded for many visitors by its invisibility. Interpretation of the limes for visitors both within the landscape and in museums brings special challenges that cannot be addressed without the use of reconstructions. Existing interpretation points for the limes can be grouped into four types, each with specific strengths and weaknesses (Kemkes 2008).
The Limes Archaeological Monument in the Landscape
The majority of the limes frontier system, including the course of the earth banks and ditches and of the Limes wall where it existed, as well as the majority of military installations from watchtower to fort, are either invisible or barely visible on the surface of the ground. Since there are no easily visible traces in the landscape, a considerable intellectual effort is required from the visitor, which has to be stimulated by appropriate signs or mobile information systems.