They Thought it Was an Assembly Hall
German archeologists made an incredible discovery for the world of books. In 2017, German archeologists thought they discovered the remains of an ancient public assembly hall.
After the government allowed them to do some further digging (literally) the archeologists realized they were too quick to make an assumption about what the uncovered structure was. This may be the perfect time to use the phrase “don’t judge a book by its cover.” They realized that this structure was actually a public Library.
This ancient library, located in the middle of Cologne, Germany, is believed to have held about 20,000 ancient scrolls. What made archeologists realize that the structure they found was not an assembly hall were the little niches in the falls of the. It’s not uncommon for ancient walls to have niches built in them.
They are usually used to place decorative statues within them. the niches in these ancient German walls were too small to hold statues, but they were small enough to hold books!
It’s All In the Niches
Dirk Schmitz, works for the Roman-Germanic Museum of Cologne. He tells The Guardian why the archeologists decided to reconsider their opinion about this ancient dig. “It took us some time to match up the parallels — we could see the niches were too small to bear statues inside,” Shmitz says. “They are very particular to libraries — you can see the same ones in the library at Ephesus.”
It’s not completely clear how many scrolls the library held at the time it was up and running, but the estimated number is around 20,000. According to archeologists, a library this size was considered huge at the time. The library was only slightly smaller than the ancient library at Ephesus, which was erected in 117 AD.
This Was a Rare Find
The archeologists were quite fortunate that the niches in the walls remained intact after all these years. If the only thing they found was the foundation of the ancient structure, archeologists would not be able to know what the purpose of it was. They may have stuck to their belief that it was a city hall.
This type of discovery is significant in ways more than one. Firstly, a large library says a lot about the life of the people living around the area. What’s even more significant about the discovery is that raises a few eyebrows. Perhaps there are many archeological digs deemed “city halls” that are actually ancient libraries.
One can’t help but wonder what the archeologists of the future might think when they dig up the ancient ruins of a Chucky Cheese or a Wannado City