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German settlement of Cölln excavated

Archaeologists are busy excavating the town of Cölln, which sat across the River Spree from Berlin before being swallowed up by Berlin’s expansion. I’ll be in Berlin in June and will definitely stop by to check out the site.

Up to now, historians have known very little about the early history of Cölln and Berlin, partly because most of the official documents and municipal papers were destroyed in the fires of 1378 and 1380. There has therefore been little definitive evidence of the early years of this ambitious colony on the River Spree.

Spectacular archaeological finds in the capital’s former center could now change that. Indeed, it appears that Cölln was the older of the two neighboring settlements. What’s more, the core of what would eventually become a sprawling city may have developed fully half a century earlier than had previously been assumed.

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Story: Frank Thadeusz, Spiegel | Photo: Claudia Maria Melisch / Landesdenkmalamt Berlin

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