Lauresham Open-Air Laboratory

The Lauresham Experimental Archaeological Open-Air Laboratory is a 1:1 model of a Carolingian manor house (curtis dominica) from around 800. This ideal (re)construction of a large early medieval farmstead was built from 2012 onwards on an area of 4.1 hectares and consists of various farm, residential, storage and stable buildings as well as a chapel.

At a glance

Visitor Information

Settlement Archaeology as a Scientific Foundation

The scientific basis for the structure, arrangement and materiality of these buildings is provided by current findings in settlement archaeology. This sub-discipline methodically researches the relationship between settlements and landscapes.

Lauresham, buildings

View of the centre of the open-air laboratory, laid out as a Carolingian manor house might have looked in the early Middle Ages.

Foto: M. Thumm, 2019

Lauresham, wooden building under construction

The scientific experiments at Laureshaum include the construction of so-called pit houses.

Foto: M. Thumm, 2020

Lauresham staff with visitors

On open days, staff demonstrate various medieval crafts.

Foto: M. Thumm, 2020

Lauresham, rooster

A trip to Lauresham is a family event. The many farm animals are of particular interest to children.

Foto: M. Thumm, 2020

Lauresham, oven

The model village in Lauresham has a bakehouse.

Foto: M. Thumm, 2019

Lauresham, boar

Wild boars are “helpers” at Lauresham. They dig up and loosen the soil of fields.

Foto: M. Thumm, 2019

The ensemble is located in the heart of the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Lorsch Abbey, which was redesigned and greatly expanded in 2014. Group tours of the complex topic of landlordship are offered to visitors.

Landlordism as a Form of Life and Economy

It is fundamental for understanding early medieval social structures. Lauresham therefore also fulfils the special task of helping us to better understand Lorsch Abbey, which is now largely destroyed.

Lauresham, men blacksmithing

On theme days, the Middle Ages are brought to life at Lauresham: here, forging metal.

Foto: M. Thumm, 2019

Experimental Archaeology

Lauresham is also a forum for ongoing experimental archaeological research. Here, various craft and agricultural working techniques of the early Middle Ages are tested and researched during ongoing operations.

Close to the Early Middle Ages

This concerns on the one hand the construction and use of buildings, and on the other hand the various agricultural areas – meadows, fields and gardens – and the keeping of farm animals, which come close to the medieval appearance. This creates a vivid picture of the working and everyday life of people in the early Middle Ages.