DikoS – Digitalization concept for quarries – the Roman mill and building block quarries of the Eastern Eifel

DikoS i3mainz, CC BY SA 4.0

The aim of the DikoS project is to create a digitization concept for underground mines and surface quarries. The desired digital copies are to be made available to the scientific community in order to be able to better assess the economic importance of these raw materials and to embed them in economic-archaeological questions.


The focus was on five quarrying sites in the East Eifel quarry: The pit near Mayen and the Kottenheimer Winfeld, the Römerbergwerk Meurin on the Laacher See volcano near Kretz, the quarries of the Hohe Buche volcano near Andernach and the Mauerley quarries of the Veitskopf volcano near Glees.

In Roman times, high-quality millstones were mined for more than 450 years in the Mayener Grubenfeld (approx. 0.25 km² area, up to 5 m deep) and Kottenheimer Winfeld (approx. 0.22 km² area, approx. 3 m deep). and negotiated in large numbers across the Rhine to England and into the Alps. The oldest surviving evidence of sustainable technology transfer can be found in these quarries: With the introduction of milling technology from the Mediterranean region, a basic requirement for supplying larger populations with grain as a staple food was also created in the regions north of the Alps. In the “Römerberwerk Meurin” (total 1,595 m², ceiling height approx. 2.5 m), building blocks made of tuff were mined underground in numerous mining chambers and exported nationwide. This mine documents the beginnings of the building stone industry in Central Europe with the Ubier Monument in Cologne, the oldest stone building in Roman Germany. With the brick quarries of the Mauerley (approx. 56,000 m², approx. 3.5 m deep) and the Hohe Buche (approx. 30,000 m², approx. 4 m deep) there are two areas in which above-ground building material for the regional market was won, e.g. for the oldest stone bridge in Roman Trier.


A concept for digital reproduction for quarries and mines is created by combining 3D data with, for example, photos, plans, drawings and archaeological and geological information. The aim is to enable the scientific community to answer large-scale economic and archaeological questions that go beyond the quarry area: Existing geochemical and mineralogical analyzes of the respective raw materials serve as a starting point for determining the origin of stone artefacts, for determining transport routes, for interpreting economic structures and for assessment the economic importance of these raw materials. It is only possible to fully understand and document this with a detailed digital copy of the respective mining site. The five exemplary quarries were prospected during a one-week stay in the East Eifel in order to examine and discuss the archaeological and geological knowledge about the quarries with the possibilities and limits of 3D documentation on site