Archaeological Information Stations Behind the Stadtcasino Basel

The Archäologische Bodenforschung Basel-Stadt (Basel’s Archaeological Ground Research) has set up two new archaeological information points on the history of Basel at the Theater-Passage and Fasnachtsgasse. The focus of the staging is the history of the Barfüsser Kloster (monastery of the Barefooted Monks) that once stood at this location. A bronze model of the monastery and an archaeoscope, a telescope into the past, provide an exciting insight into 1,000 years of city history.

The excavations carried out in 2017 during the renovation of the music hall of the Stadtcasino Basel met with great public interest. The results of the excavation can be explored in the publication “1000 Jahre Basler Geschichte. Archäologie unter dem Musiksaal des Stadtcasino Basel” (1000 Years of Basel History. Archeology under the music hall of the Stadtcasino Basel), as well as directly on site through the two new archaeological information centers.

© Philippe Saurbeck, Archäologische Bodenforschung Basel-Stadt

Between today’s Barfüsserplatz and the Steinenberg, the mendicant order of the Franciscans—who were also called Barfüsser because they wore no shoes—built the Barfüsserkirche (church) and the associated monastery around 1250. A bronze model of the church and the monastery was created for the new information point “BASEL, 1254–1843 n.Chr.: BARFÜSSERKLOSTER,” which also allows visually impaired people to experience the original appearance of the facility. An archaeoscope installed next to the bronze model provides a glimpse into the past. Impressions from the excavations as well as historical images and newly created reconstructions bring the history of the Barfüsserkloster and the post-Reformation use of the cloister as a cemetery and as an “asylum” to life in pictures.

© Philippe Saurbeck, Archäologische Bodenforschung Basel-Stadt

The second archaeological information center focuses on Basel’s first city wall, which Bishop Burkhard had built around 1070/80. Archaeological ground research in the area around the Barfüsserkirche has been documenting the remains this city fortification since the 1970s. This documentation has now been expanded with the new information station “Basel, 1080-1843 n.Chr.: MITTELALTERLICHE STADTMAUERN AM STEINENBERG.” According to current knowledge, the stump of the wall located at the Theater-Passage is likely the remainder of a defensive tower. Other remains of Burkhard’s city wall can be viewed at Kohlenberg (Lohnhof corner tower) and at the Leonhardsgraben in the Teufelhof guest house and cultural center.