At the heart of the city, in the area of the so-called “New Castle” at the Nikolaiquartier the Archaeological Museum Hamburg conducts a six-month-excavation as of now. The area around the Hopfenmarkt hides a unique historic site ensemble. It was here where nearly 1,000 years ago Hamburg’s development from castle to city began. The archaeologists want to discover all of the ground’s secrets at this historically most important place in Hamburg before new construction starts at the property and all archaeological traces are destroyed. The 119 square metres of soil at the digging site preserved archaeological finds of the ringfort fortification built between 1021 and 1024. These finds are now to be excavated and documented scientifically before construction begins.
2014/15 archaeologists already excavated remains of the wall of the New Castle at the adjacent property to the south. Back then they came up with a surprising discovery: They were able to determine through dendrochronological analyses that the New Castle was about 40 years older than believed and that the so-called “Alsterburg”, which is mentioned in numerous historical texts, never existed. At the current excavation site (Großer Burstah 19-21 / Hahntrapp 4) they now hope to gain new important results concerning questions like the original height of the wall or its not yet known course. Since the street “Broßer Burstah” follows the course of an 11th century merchant’s way according to recent knowledge it is possible to excavate the area of a medieval gate complex. On the site the archaeologists might also find remains of the later originated merchant’s settlement.