Tithe Barn Show Depot
The imposing, 80-metre-long building, erected in the 1590s from reused stones from older monastery buildings, originally served to store the tithe. Today, the total of three compartments of the post-monastic barn contain objects from over 200 years of excavation history at Lorsch Abbey.
Since 2015, an Overview of the Finds from 200 Years of Excavations
The staff of the World Heritage Site brought them together there for the first time since 2015 and reassembled them at their place of origin so that they can be further researched and presented in changing contexts.
The former tithe barn is a late 16th century building and consists entirely of reused stones from demolished monastery buildings. As the oldest post-monastic building, it therefore symbolises the abandonment, decay and finally the gradual demolition of the abbey, which took place over two centuries.
A Building for the “tithe” – Agricultural Levies
At the same time, the building stands for an economy that continued to exist after the end of the abbey. Until the Bergstrasse was returned to the Electorate of Mainz, it collected natural resources that had previously been the property of the abbey, but which now went to the administration of the Electorate of the Palatinate. A “treasurer” watched over this income.
The barn served a wide variety of purposes until 2003, when it was added to the fixed assets of the State Castles and Gardens, together with the forest ranger’s office, the forest garden and the old pigsty of the forest ranger’s office.
Today It Contains Other “Yields”
It was subsequently developed into a barn of its own kind: A place to bring together the “yield” of more than 200 years of archaeological research in the form of a show depot on the ground floor, but also a finds archive on the upper floor.
Cultural Artifacts from Many Epochs
The objects in the tithe barn document impressive finds. In addition to late antique pieces from the 2nd and 3rd centuries and Carolingian columns and capitals from the abbey’s heyday, there is also a large number of significant small finds that reveal revealing contexts of monastic life.
Current Exhibition: Making History – Sources from a Well
During the investigation of an old well on the grounds of the UNESCO World Heritage Site Lorsch a few years ago, unexpectedly high-quality medieval architectural and sculptural fragments came to light. Built into the wall, some of them could be recovered. The amazement at these finds was great at the time. After thorough documentation, restoration and scientific classification, they have been on public display for the first time since October 2021 in the exhibition “Making History – Sources from a Well” in the tithe barn.
The precious stone carvings built into the upper part of the ten-metre-deep Baroque fountain were once part of the furnishings of the former Lorsch Basilica of St. Nazarius. Of the place of worship with its beginnings in the Carolingian period, which was praised as a “wonder of splendour and beauty”, only the western part of the nave (the so-called church fragment) remains today.
The workpieces from the well include the ornamented elements of a choir screen from the Romanesque period as well as fragments of Gothic sculptures with significant remains of colour. They shed new light on the history of the monastery.