Snow castle (Welden)

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The early medieval ring wall Schneeburg is about one and a half kilometers south of the market in Welden ( Augsburg district , Swabia ) on a prominent foothill of the Streitheim forest above the Laugna valley . The earthworks of the large weir system can still be easily followed in the area.


As with most of the prehistoric and early historical ground monuments, there are no written records of history and time.

In their present form, the earthworks and moats, some of which are well preserved, can be assigned to the early Middle Ages. However, the Burgplatz has been in use since the Bronze Age . During a rescue excavation on the occasion of the construction of a wood evacuation route, ceramic shards from this period (approx. 1200–1400 BC) were found in a pointed ditch in the area of ​​the older part. The settlement area seems to have been secured by a plank fence.

In Carolingian times there was perhaps a smaller manor house on the hilltop, which was later expanded into a larger manor house. The size of the facility speaks for an important fortification from the time of the state expansion, such as a count's castle. During the Hungarian invasions of the 10th century, the snow castle certainly served as a protective castle for the residents of this area and as a troop assembly point. The east side of the outer bailey shows the typical graduation of the moat system of Hungarian castles. The Magyar cavalrymen were to be kept at a distance. However, such fastening systems mostly consist of pure earth fillings, the wall tops were only reinforced by rows of palisades or plank fences. However, the walls of the snow castle were created by the collapse of complex wood-earth structures. The outer wall of the outer bailey was even covered with a dry stone wall made of Nagelfluh and sandstone . The relatively low wall heights and ditch depths also speak against the main function of the snow castle as a Hungarian wall that is only used temporarily .

In the last fortification phase, a palisade girdle was built on these - now collapsed - walls in the 11th century. Traces of fire here indicate the final demise of the castle as a result of armed conflicts.

In 1972/73 the working group for prehistory and early history of the Augsburg district was able to archaeologically examine the snow castle in the course of the rescue excavation mentioned and secure the findings listed. Today the Ludwig-Ganghofer-Rundwanderweg leads through the castle area. A modern information board shows the hiker the importance of the ground monument.


Plan on the information board inside the system

The snow castle is about 50 meters above the Laugna valley on a spur protruding to the west (about 510  m above sea  level ). To the east, the staggered wall system of the outer bailey protects the Burgplatz, the other sides drop steeply to moderately steeply into the valley.

The complex (about 250 × 200 meters) consists of the spacious main bailey and the large outer bailey in the east facing the plateau. Inside the main castle, the ramparts of the previous complex (approx. 120 × 80 meters) can still be seen. The southern rampart is about a meter high and runs west to the edge of the slope. A small part of the area there fell victim to slope erosion .

The ditch around the castle plateau is also only faintly recognizable in parts, but well preserved in other places. Against the outer bailey an arched double wall with a trench in between secures the area. Measured from the bottom of the trench, the wall height in the south is about five to six meters. On the inside, the wall is up to 1.50 meters high. On the south side, the fortification system has generally been better preserved than on the north.

The inner rampart of the outer bailey is only up to four meters high, the ramparts are significantly lower. The outer trench in front of the double or triple wall system is still about one meter deep.

The old castle path is likely to have led up the slope from the north in a channel and led to the south at the fortification. The main gate was probably at the point marked on the plan with the number 7 on the slope edge. The other wall breakthroughs go back to the construction of modern wood removal routes.

The barriers to approaching riders from the Hungarian period (see Haldenburg , Schwabegg) in front of the rampart system of the outer bailey , which are occasionally mentioned in the sparse literature , cannot be clearly identified when visiting the site today.

The Bavarian State Office for Monument Preservation lists the ground monument as a settlement of the Bronze Age and ring wall of the early Middle Ages under monument number D 7-7530-0007.


  • Otto Schneider: Ringwall »Snow Castle« south of Welden . In: Hans Frei, Günther Krahe (Ed.): Guide to archaeological monuments in Swabia, Volume 1: Archaeological walks around Augsburg . Konrad Theiss Verlag, Stuttgart and Aalen 1977, ISBN 3-8062-0185-4 , pp. 119-124.
  • Wilhelm Neu and Frank Otten: District of Augsburg (Bavarian art monuments, brief inventory, XXX. Munich, 1970)

Individual evidence

  1. Bavarian State Office for Monument Preservation: Entry ( memento of the original from January 10, 2016 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link has been inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot /

Coordinates: 48 ° 26 ′ 41.6 "  N , 10 ° 40 ′ 15.6"  E