Roman-Germanic Central Museum

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Roman-Germanic Central Museum
Leibniz Research Institute for Archeology
Roman-Germanic Central Museum Leibniz Research Institute for Archeology
Roman-Germanic Central Museum
Carrier: the state of Rhineland-Palatinate and the city of Mainz
Consist: 1852
Legal form of the carrier: Foundation under public law
Seat of the wearer: Mainz
Membership: Leibniz Association
Facility location: Mainz, Germany
Type of research: archeology

The Römisch-Germanisches Zentralmuseum - Leibniz Research Institute for Archeology ( RGZM ) in Mainz is a globally active research institute for archeology that is supported by the federal and state governments and belongs to the Leibniz Association of German Research Institutions.

Divided into several departments, the institute works in the area of ​​the Old World and its contact zones from the Paleolithic to the Middle Ages. In addition, it maintains a permanent exhibition and, through its numerous publications and events, is aimed at communicating the latest research results to a broad public.


The museum was founded in 1852 after the decision of the Dresden and Mainz conferences to merge all German historical and antiquity associations. In addition to the “Roman-Germanic Central Museum” in Mainz, which is dedicated to research into the Germanic (pagan) and Roman epochs, it was also decided to found the “ Christian-Germanic National Museum ” in Nuremberg, for antiquities of the Middle Ages. One of the initiators of the merger was Ludwig Lindenschmit the Elder. Ä. He was already a co-founder of the “Society for the Research of Rhenish History and Antiquities” in Mainz, which is now the Mainz Antiquity Association , and was the first director and head of the Roman-Germanic Central Museum. One year after it was founded, in 1853, the Roman-Germanic Central Museum was initially located in three rooms of the Electoral Palace . In 1854 the Roman-Germanic Central Museum opened its doors for the first time to an exhibition of 388 exhibits.

East wing of the Electoral Palace in Mainz, location of the exhibition rooms of the Roman-Germanic Central Museum

In the first few years after it was founded, the museum was confronted with financial difficulties because at the beginning there was no regular financial support from the sovereign. Only small sums of money were made available to the museum by the state government, princes, kings and later also the emperor. At that time, the voluntary contributions from citizens of Mainz and sales of copies were very important. In 1855 the Nuremberg Museum made an initial offer to merge the Mainz and Nuremberg locations. Lindenschmit rejected this and another offer in 1866/67 on the grounds that he feared that the department of the Roman-Germanic Central Museum would be neglected. It was not until 1872, after the founding of the empire, that the RGZM received an annual grant. Ludwig Lindenschmit the Elder Ä. shaped the character of the museum as a scientific collection of copies for the study of classical antiquity and prehistory in Germany, including mainly ancient objects from the Germanic and Roman periods.

After the death of Ludwig Lindenschmit the Elder Ä. In 1893 Karl Schumacher became the new 1st director of the RGZM in 1900, Lindenschmit's son, Ludwig Lindenschmit the Elder. J. , received the post of 2nd director. In the following years, the collection was expanded again and again through new casts and the acquisition of originals. The available rooms were also extended by 22 newly furnished rooms in 1910. Later came armory (Sautanzgebäude) and magazine (1930) and the Schirrmacherei as a workshop (1934) to the buildings of the RGZM it. During the Second World War, large parts of the exhibition halls as well as the armory and the workshop were destroyed and the castle was occupied, initially by Americans and later by French. In 1952 the "Society of Friends of the Roman-Germanic Central Museum" was founded.

Seal mark Römisch Germanisches Central Museum

The previous presentation in Mainz continues the character of a study collection, which is aimed more at experts and laypeople interested in the subject than at a broad public. The museum, which has been financed by the federal and state governments since 1977 and has belonged to the Leibniz Association of German Research Institutions since 2002, offers not only science education programs but also special exhibitions on current research. At times, the RGZM also took on the task of preserving monuments for Rheinhessen and carried out excavations. The museum's restoration workshops form a basis for his scientific work. There are also numerous research projects in the various research areas.

At the beginning of December 2007, it was decided to build a new building on the southern edge of downtown Mainz, next to the Museum of Ancient Shipping . His archaeological center is being built there. In June 2017, the permanent exhibition in the Electoral Palace was closed to the public as part of the preparations for the move. There are also opportunities to visit special events and the Museum of Ancient Shipping.

General Directors


The RGZM researches the archeology of the ancient world. Time-limited research fields were created across departments and across time, in which scientists from the various departments work together on questions of cultural history. These are the following research fields:

Research topics that have already been completed are:

  • Landfill in prehistory and early history
  • Studies on the structure and genesis of elites in prehistoric and early historical societies
  • Cavalry warriors, castle builders. The early Hungarians and the "German Empire" from the 9th to the 11th centuries
  • Transformation and cultural exchange on the edge of the Mediterranean world: The Crimean mountains in the early Middle Ages
  • Cooperation Byzantine Archeology Mainz , see also: Leibniz Science Campus Mainz: Byzantium between Orient and Occident

In addition to this research with focal points, other topics are researched in the RGZM:

  • The Short Life of an Imperial City - Everyday Life, Environment and Fall of the Early Byzantine Caričin Grad ( Iustiniana Prima ?)
  • Worldwide cell plant
  • Archaeological contributions to environmental research
  • The grave of the Frankish king Childerich I.
  • Replicas of ancient and medieval organs from the Roman and Byzantine cultures - a contribution to musical archeology
  • Animal bone finds from the Avar burial ground on Vienna's Csokorgasse (11th district)
  • Sino-German cooperation for the preservation and research of cultural heritage - branch in Xi'an ( Shaanxi province )

Areas of competence

The unique in-house knowledge base of the RGZM combines extensive technical infrastructures with a wide range of technical and personnel-based scientific expertise, which is spread across ten areas of competence of the company. Within these closely interlinked areas, basic projects and exploratory research contribute to expanding the knowledge base. They serve to open up important material sources or to develop and test new methods to a degree that subsequent projects with more extensive research questions can build on them.

Chronological areas of competence

Thematic areas of competence

Methodical areas of competence

Restoration workshops

One focus of the work of the RGZM is the processing of found objects. This happens in the major restoration workshops. Among other things, the equipment of the glacier corpse “ Ötzi ” or the brass boar from Soulac-sur-Mer were examined and processed. The workshops are divided into the areas of restoration / conservation, documentation and archaeometry . With over 30 employees, these are among the largest institutions of this type in the world and enjoy an international reputation. There is close cooperation between restorers, natural scientists and archaeologists, as well as cooperation with the archaeological and geoscientific faculty of the University of Mainz and the Institute for Spatial Information and Measurement Technology at the University of Mainz. The workshops are divided into:

  • Ceramic workshop
  • Impression workshop
  • Coloring workshop
  • Glass workshop
  • Two goldsmiths' workshops for manufacturing research and replication of precious metal objects
  • Three metal workshops for processing archaeological objects made of base metal
  • Morphological investigation and conservation of organic residues and small objects made of organic material
  • Wood conservation department in the Museum of Ancient Shipping for large objects made from wet archaeological wood

Investigations of the objects take place in different forms. Imaging procedures:

For the investigation of the chemical composition of inorganic materials:

For phase identification of different chemical compounds:

The selection of objects is primarily based on scientific interest. Finds of cultural and historical significance, which require particularly difficult restoration / conservation using special processes and a highly developed logic, are also of great interest. The most extraordinary and important finds are faithfully reproduced for the collection of the house. Another task of the workshops is the development of new, modern restoration, conservation and reproduction processes.

Since the 2007/2008 winter semester, the RGZM and Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz have been offering a dual BA degree in Archaeological Restoration .

More locations

Volcano park

Museum of Ancient Shipping

MONREPOS. Archaeological Research Center and Museum of Human Behavioral Evolution

Other offers

For decades, winter lectures have provided insight into current research. Specialized lectures from the Byzantium series in Mainz are integrated into this lecture program .

Samian navigator

At the RGZM, the Samian Navigator , an online find database on Terra Sigillata , was created in cooperation with the universities of Reading and Leeds . Today around a quarter of a million entries can be linked and examined.

Support association

The museum is financially and ideally supported by the Society of Friends of the Roman-Germanic Central Museum in Mainz e. V. supports and conducts an extensive lecture and guided tour program as well as excursions.

Publisher of the RGZM

The RGZM publishing house publishes scientific journals and monograph series on archeology. In addition, exhibition catalogs and popular science books inform a broad audience about new research results in archeology. The publication program currently comprises three journals and eight series of monographs, most of which are - often in foreign languages ​​- scientific publications for international experts. However, some of the publications are also aimed at a wider audience.

Scientific ranks
Popular science series
  • Mosaic stones - research at the RGZM
  • Popular science series
  • Guide through the presentations


  • One hundred years of the Roman-Germanic Central Museum in Mainz. Roman-Germanic Central Museum, Mainz 1952.
  • Kurt Böhner : The Roman-Germanic Central Museum - a patriotic and learned foundation of the 19th century . In: Yearbook of the Roman-Germanic Central Museum . Vol. 25, 1978, pp. VIII-XXXIX.
  • Hermann Ament : Roman-Germanic Central Museum. In: Reallexikon der Germanischen Altertumskunde . Vol. 34, de Gruyter, Berlin 2007, pp. 503-506.

Web links

Commons : Römisch-Germanisches Zentralmuseum  - Collection of images, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. ^ The new building of the RGZM in the Archaeological Center. Retrieved April 8, 2016 .
  2. ^ Gerd Plachetka: The Roman-Germanic Central Museum in Mainz is preparing to move . In: Allgemeine Zeitung . May 29, 2017 ( ).

Coordinates: 50 ° 0 ′ 22 ″  N , 8 ° 16 ′ 11 ″  E