Visit of La Villa – Museum and archaeological sites in Dehlingen


We sometimes ignore it, but we find Gallo-Roman vestiges in Alsace! This is the case in the village of Dehlingen in Alsace Bossue (in the north of Alsace), where there is a notable archaeological site: an ancient residence occupied in the Gallo-Roman period! The visit of the museum La Villa and the archaeological site of Gurtelbach allow to learn more about the history of the place and about archaeology in general. Come on, I'll take you!

Laurène is the blog's creator. Originally from Brittany but now living in Alsace, she has fallen in love with her adopted region and loves exploring its every nook and cranny to unearth great ideas to share with you!

Archaeological Museum La Villa in Dehlingen

The Museum La Villa is located in the heart of the village of Dehlingen. The building itself is nice as it mixes an 18th century dwelling with a contemporary extension. The interior of the museum is also modern and very pleasant. The proposed exhibition already allows visitors to discover the profession of archaeologist, by explaining the approach, the equipment and the different techniques used to carry out archaeological excavations. Very interesting!

In addition to these general explanations, a multitude of objects found on the nearby site of Gurtelbach can be discovered during a visit to the Villa and one learns more about what life must have been like on this farm in the north-east of Gaul… Obviously, there are few certainties and many hypotheses, but that is the charm of archaeology. We also learn how the different hypotheses are formulated by the archaeologists.

If the subject may seem a bit obscure at first, the visit to the museum is really enlighteningI have already visited this museum twice and made the same reflection each time, I find that the level of information given is really good, and this whatever the public (adults or children, who can also make a treasure hunt to make the visit more fun!) Enough to learn a lot of things, without being too much to be drowned under too many elements, which allows to come out with clear ideas before approaching the second stage of the visit, the archaeological site itself.

Interpretation trails between the Villa and the remains

The archaeological site of Gurtelbach, where the remains of the Gallo-Roman farm are located, is 1.5 km from the villa. From the Villa, you can reach the site by taking one of the 4 interpretation paths, which allow you to discover the beautiful landscapes of Alsace Bossue:

  • On the way with Columelle (1.4 km, about 20 minutes)
  • Smell and taste (1.4 km, about 25 minutes)
  • The Way (1.7 km, about 30 minutes)
  • All roads lead to Rome (3.5 km, about 30 minutes)

Archaeological site of Gurtelbach

The remains of the Gurtelbach archaeological site, discovered around 1862 and then gradually forgotten, were rediscovered by chance by a local farmer who was working in his field in 1993. Excavations started the following year and have not stopped since! In addition to an important collection of ancient objects, the foundations of a first residential building were found, then traces of an agricultural building and finally those of a building dedicated to a craft activity of ironwork. A built-up area of 1.5 hectares in total which, according to the coins found on site, would have been occupied between the 1st century BC. and the 5th century AD.

The visit of the site can be done with a tablet offering virtual reality. By putting the tablet in front of you, you discover what the farm buildings might have looked like and learn more about what the daily life of its inhabitants must have been like via text and audio explanations. If I am not a big fan of virtual reality in general (not that I am against this technology but because I find that it does not always bring much), I must say that I was seduced by its use in this context. The visit of an archaeological site is never easy for a non-initiated person: it is hard to imagine what were the ruins that we have in front of us! With the tablet, the ruins immediately take on another dimension: virtual reality makes them easier to read and the visit becomes both more fun and instructive!

If the visit makes you want to explore this site further, you should know that the excavations are still going on! Classes and groups of archaeology students are regularly welcomed to excavate in real conditions and a summer camp about archaeology is even organized every year. You might be lucky enough to find a new antique object…

Gallo-Roman garden

Right next to the ruins is an experimental garden, the Gallo-Roman garden. The idea of this garden is to identify the species cultivated in the region during the Gallo-Roman period in order to study the culture and the food at that time and thus to find certain ancient flavors. We find cereals, legumes, but also aromatic and medicinal plants. Animations are regularly organized on the theme of food, sometimes allowing to taste some dishes dating from that time! I’ve already tested it, it’s very nice to do.

  • Visit of the museum very interesting and adapted to different audiences
  • Virtual reality to better understand the ruins
  • Beautiful Gallo-Roman garden
  • Nothing!

My photos of the visit of the Villa and the archaeological site of Gurtelbach