Field jury

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Field jurors in Bavaria
Intangible cultural heritage Intangible cultural heritage emblem
State (s): GermanyGermany Germany
List: National list
Admission: 2016

Field jury members work in Bavaria , Rhineland-Palatinate and partly also in Thuringia in the marking of property boundaries and parcels . You set boundary stones higher or lower, remove survey points or replace damaged survey points. As guardians of the borders and markings in community areas , they work closely with surveyors .

There are a number of alternative terms, some of which are only used regionally. The best known are Siebener or Siebner (whose activity, the Siebnerei , was regulated by sieving regulations), Landscheider or Untergänger .

Field juries have existed since the 12th or 13th century. The office of field jury is one of the oldest remaining offices of local self-government .

In Bavaria alone there are around 25,000 field jury members, 15,000 of them in Swiss francs (as of 2016).


The task of the field jury is to actively control and walk around the municipal boundary by the citizens, the so-called border inspection , i.e. H. an activity to control a (community) border, to keep it clear or to convey knowledge about the course of borders. By marking property boundaries and parcels , they help to document the ownership structure and administrative responsibility of the territory. Field jury members watch over the borders.

The field jury is obliged to act conscientiously and impartially as well as to maintain secrecy and to maintain the secret of the seven by means of an oath for life.

Cooperation with the surveying authorities

The marking is generally carried out by the state surveying authorities. The field jury is involved in this. The municipal statutes can stipulate that the field jury reserves the right to set and remove boundary stones during official surveys. The field jury can bring in their secret sign (secret of seven). The land surveying office responsible for the marking is not released from the responsibility for the correct and appropriate stone setting.

Border inspection

On the orders of the first mayor, the field jury inspects the border. If you discover deficiencies in the boundary markings, inform the property owners. The first mayor is informed of any deficiencies in the municipal boundary.


The chairman of the field jury receives reports about the loss or damage of boundary signs and assigns the field jury to service. He can be reached through the respective municipality.

Independent activity

Field jury members may search for and uncover boundary signs that have been set if a property owner requests this. Furthermore, field jury members are allowed to carry out marking acts on their own authority and responsibility within a narrow legal framework. Applications for marking by field jury members can be directed to the respective community or to the responsible chairman of the field jury members. The chairman checks whether it is a task in the area of ​​responsibility of the field jury, or whether an application for surveying must be submitted to the responsible land surveying office. The field jury takes a record of the marking, which is an administrative act. This will be sent to the responsible office for digitization, broadband and surveying for storage.

Setting of sevens

The field jury mark the location of the border points with secret symbols. These are also called documents, evidence, witnesses or secrets. The seven characters are mostly specially shaped and labeled characters made of durable material, such as. B. fired clay, glass, porcelain or metal. They are laid out in the area of ​​the boundary stone in a specific arrangement known only to the field jury. This type of arrangement is known as a "secret of seven". The field jury can tell whether the stone has been changed by the shape and position of the signs.

Local volunteer work

Basic requirements

Field jury members work exclusively in the local environment and should have a good knowledge of the local or communal areas and corridors. Since field juries de facto certify (but not de jure) by setting boundary stones, they are sworn in for life and obliged to maintain secrecy. One is called to the office of field jury for a lifetime.

Appointment of the field jury

The community determines the number of field jury members - usually between four and seven - as well as their local structure and jurisdiction. The municipal council appoints the field jury for an area for the first time by election. After individual field jury members have been eliminated, the remaining field jury members can elect new field jury members themselves.

Expense allowance

As a volunteer, you are entitled to an expense allowance in accordance with a fee schedule . This is issued by the district council or city ​​council . The fees are collected at the request of the field jury by the community, in non-community areas by the district administration authority.

Area of ​​responsibility

Since the field jury is appointed by the community, their area of ​​responsibility can cover a maximum of the community area. A subdivision according to districts or districts is possible. The field jury is appointed by the responsible district administrative authority for areas free of congregations, also known as Ausmärkische areas.

Supervision and chairman

The state surveying authorities have the technical supervision of the field jury. The legal supervision of the field jury rests with the district office in the case of municipalities belonging to a district, with the respective district government in the case of municipalities not belonging to the district. The field jury elects an umpire and his deputy from among their number. The chairman is the contact person within his area of ​​responsibility and can be reached via the respective municipality.

honors and awards

For the honorary office, honors are given and awarded in recognition of the activity. In Bavaria, honorary certificates are issued for a 25-, 40-, 50-, 60- or 70-year term of office.


The community of field jury members is strengthened through annual border patrols, anniversaries, regular meetings, training courses and joint excursions. New field jury members are democratically elected by older counterparts. Special handicraft techniques and peculiarities of tradition are passed on from generation to generation through active action and oral tradition. Due to the long, historical tradition, similarities developed to the historical Freemasonry of church building.


Regional names

The main focus of the field jury is in Franconia. Accordingly, there are most of the different names here. The expression "Siebener" (pronounced: Siemer, Simmä, Siewener, Siebner) appears most frequently. In Upper Franconia there are particularly many variants. In addition to the “field jury”, there is also the “marker” and the “geometer”. In the south and west of Middle Franconia you can also find the "Steiner" (pronounced: Staaner, Stoaner) and in the west of Middle Franconia and in the south of Lower Franconia the "Schieder" and the "Schiederer". It is interesting that there are many expressions with "stone", such as "Grenzsteinsetzer", "Marksteinsetzer", "Rainsteinrucker", "Rainsteinsetzer", "Steiner" and "Steinsetzer". Occasionally, the field jury in Franconian are also called "Elfer", "Flurer", "Flurerer", "Gemarker", "Grenzer", "Marker", "Neuner", "Vier-Richter" or "Vierer".

In Upper and Lower Bavaria as well as in the Upper Palatinate, the terms "Feldgeschworener" or "Geschworener" are mainly used. In Upper Bavaria they say u. a. also “Geometer”, “Estimators”, “Estimators” or “Surveyors”, in Lower Bavaria “Schätzmann” or “Markmacher” and in the Upper Palatinate “Siebener” or “Marksteinsetzer”.

In Swabian there are, among others, the "Unterganger", "Steinerer" or "Marker", in the Nördlingen area the group of field jury members is called "field court" and in Central Swabia one speaks of "contact" when describing the activity of a field jury member.

Women as field jury members

It is noticeable that only male forms have been documented over the centuries. The reason for this is that for a long time only men were field jury members. This is also reflected in the German dictionary by Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm: “feldgeschworner, m. a man from the community who was taken under oath and duty as a field separator, field knife. ”(online version of February 6, 2019). Women have been allowed to exercise the office of field jury since 1981, since then the female forms have also been used and there are the "field jury", the "seventh woman", etc. Currently around 50 women are volunteering in Bavaria.

Legal regulations

Details on the honorary office of the field jury are regulated in the Bavarian Marking Act (AbmG) of August 6, 1981, the Bavarian Field Jury Ordinance (FO) of October 16, 1981, the Bavarian Field Jury Announcement for the Execution of October 12, 1981 or in the Rhineland-Palatinate LGVermDVO ( Sections 21 and 22) of April 30, 2001.



The honorary office originated in Franconia in the 13th century , where a particularly large number of boundary lines had to be documented due to the small-scale plot of land. The territorial rulers recognized that local contacts were necessary who were familiar with the local community and who would guarantee border control. Because a group of mostly seven people was originally set up to regulate and determine property boundaries, the term sevens became commonplace . Today a minimum of four people is required.

The field jury system arose from the field and doom courts of that time, which in turn emerged from the village courts.

To secure the boundary stones there was a secret of seven , about which the sevens had to keep silence and which were only passed on orally. This consisted of individually placed, specially shaped, sometimes inscribed characters made of fired clay, glass, porcelain or metal. Their knowledge of property conditions and the function of judges in land disputes made the Sevens "people who were most respected, but also feared in the village".


Until the Enactment of the Marking Act in 1900, they had the right to carry out border investigations, property division and demarcation. Since then, subject to seven the survey offices . Nevertheless, they are still entitled to work independently to a limited extent. For example, they can also be ordered by owners to secure or renew a boundary mark. In the event of discrepancies, however, they no longer have any decision-making powers.

An important historical source on the work of the field jury is the "Book of Six" kept in Frammersbach im Spessart from 1572 to 1764. It was edited by Rainer Leng in the winter of 2002/03 .

When this honorary post was to be abolished in Bavaria in 1970 , members of the state parliament from Lower Franconia fought to maintain it.

In 2016 it was recognized as a German UNESCO cultural heritage .

Other German federal states

This independent task does not exist outside of Bavaria, Rhineland-Palatinate and Thuringia.

The surveying is carried out solely by officials of the land surveying offices or by publicly appointed surveyors . To prevent the movement of boundary stones, they trust the surveying number and the coordinates determined from them . In addition, the boundary signs there are also secured by underground landmarks (clay cones, bottles, etc.), which will be announced in the boundary negotiation.

regional customs

From the activity of actively controlling and walking away from the municipal boundary by the citizens, the so-called border inspection , d. H. An activity to control a (community) border, to keep it clear or to convey knowledge about the course of borders, folk festivals with regionally changing names such as Schnadegang , Banntag or Grenzgang developed in many places .

In 2007 in the Franconian town of Langenzenn, as part of the maintenance of customs and support for foreign traffic, several Siebenerwege were created , on which the local Siebenersteine ​​can be sensually hiked.


  • Richard Henninger: Secure borders create peace - through the development and nature of sifting . In: zfv magazine for geodesy, geoinformation and land management , issue 4/2011, pp. 233-238, Wißner-Verlag, Augsburg 2011, ISSN  1618-8950
  • Rainer Leng : Borders, stones, hexes. The village legal practice as reflected in the Frammersbacher Six Book . Königshausen and Neumann, Würzburg 2017, ISBN 978-3-8260-6160-8 .

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Max Döllner : History of the development of the city of Neustadt an der Aisch until 1933. 1950; 2nd Edition. Ph. CW Schmidt, Neustadt an der Aisch 1978, ISBN 3-87707-013-2 , pp. 144, 312 and 342 f.
  2. Hembach: The history of the village and its inhabitants (PDF) p. 8.
  3. Field jury: Sevens are cultural heritage . , August 4, 2016; accessed on September 18, 2018.
  4. a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o Bayerische Vermessungsverwaltung - Vermessung - Feldgeschworen. Retrieved December 27, 2019 .
  5. a b c Nationwide directory of intangible cultural heritage. Retrieved December 27, 2019 .
  6. ^ Franconian dictionary .
  7. ^ Bavarian dictionary .
  8. ^ Dialect dictionary of Bavarian Swabia .
  9. Intangible cultural heritage: field juries in Bavaria . German UNESCO Commission ; accessed on September 18, 2018
  10. No more trace of the secret of seven . Nordbayerischer Kurier , June 15, 2016; accessed on September 18, 2018
  11. Disenchanted Secret Bearers . Süddeutsche Zeitung , January 12, 2016; accessed on September 18, 2018.
  12. ^ The book of six ( memento of November 25, 2014 in the Internet Archive ) on the Archaeological Spessart Project page
  13. Field jury members belong to the world cultural heritage . District Office Würzburg , March 27, 2018; accessed on September 18, 2018
  14. Wandering to stone witnesses . In: Nürnberger Zeitung , September 13, 2010; accessed on September 18, 2018.