Traces of abandoned settlements on the saale

Actually, wolfgang sobtzick wanted to research the flood risk on the saale in his geography master’s thesis. He wanted to know how the floods occur and how the inhabitants of the villages along the river deal with the danger. But then he started digging in history and came across a connection to his work.

In the 8. The frankish dominion emerges in the 16th century, and settlements are established along the saale, explains roland heinlein. "That’s when the structures were formed that still have an impact today," says, says the kreisheimatpfleger. But there is a break. Sobtzick: "in the late middle ages, many settlements were abandoned." the scattered farmsteads clustered together to form a few villages. "There is a concentration", describes heinlein. At that time, places like westheim, langendorf or elfershausen came into being.

Sobtzick sees the reason for this in a natural catastrophe: the so-called magdalenen flood on the 22nd of august, due to its date. July 1342. Sobtzick assumes that not only main, weser or elbe, but also the saale was affected. He estimates that the water level at that time was eight meters. "Thus the water reached far into the populated area. The crops and livelihoods were destroyed", explains the 35-year-old.

At that time, however, other stresses were added. "It was a difficult time. The manorial conditions were uncertain. There may have been epidemics", heinlein explains. Sobtzick therefore recognizes – apart from the flood – an exciting parallel to the present: today, too, villages are faced with the question of how to proceed in the future. Because vacancies and the demographic change endanger them.

Finds support thesis about the consequences of the magdalen floods. Sobtzick found a fragment of a comb near elfershausen. The artifact from horn is referred to the 10. Dated to the sixteenth century and was a purely chance find. It proves the existence of "mettal", of a settlement, which according to sobtzick has been handed down as a deserted village since 1353. Heinlein knows two or three places at langendorf that point to further settlements. The heimatpfleger is thereby also "ostheim" on the trail. Because if there is westheim, there must also have been an ostheim according to logic.

Sobtzick’s research is therefore far from complete. The material is enough for the next scientific work. Heinlein, too, will set out in the fall along the saale to follow the traces of old settlements – without digging and without probes.

Heinlein walks only the fields, the view on the ground lowered. So he finds shards that the rain or erosion has exposed. The search is easier than said. For the artifacts hardly differ from stones after the many centuries they have been in their clutches. The local historian reports finds to the state office for the preservation of historical monuments, which supports the "archaeology and volunteerism" project looks after.

Heinlein wishes as a contact person in the district that there are volunteers in every place who walk the surroundings as he does and document finds as well as finding places. This could complete the history of settlements along the saale – especially that of the 8th century. The first signs of a flood can be seen in the early twentieth century, when the land seizure began and no one thought of a flood.