On the slope of a wooded hill near Merklingen, a district of the town Weil der Stadt in southwestern Germany, there is an amazing testimony to times long past.
From the adjacent country road, it is not apparent what is hidden just a few meters nearby behind dense tree growth. After you have fought your way through the thicket on foot, you are almost taken breathless by what is revealed to you.
You look into a kind of wide alley, lined on the right and left by half-ruined walls of truly enormous dimensions.
They were built of huge stone blocks stacked on top of each other and rise to the left and right, sometimes more than 7 meters, to then merge into two up to 20 meters high, artificially piled up mounds.
Even at the highest points of these mounds, large carved stones still protrude from the ground, and it is suggested that these structures were probably built from such stones and soil.
he official designation of ‘old quarry with spoil piles’ just doesn’t want to fit what you’re looking at here.
The effort to arrange these massive blocks in such a way makes no sense for a quarry operation, not to mention that this seems almost impossible with the limited technical capabilities in the past.
It could well be that the quarry operation that certainly once took place here in the Middle Ages simply made use of these existing boulders. The workers would then have dismantled two megalithic pyramids completely enclosed with such blocks, layer by layer, down to their ‘foundation walls’ which still exist today.
The following relief map shows the two structures, which were built directly in front of a rock face.
In relation to the quarried area, the structures appear much too large and the material extracted there would not have been sufficient for their construction.
Among the sandstones, there is also at least one large block of gneiss, which does not occur at all in this region.
Has this site really always been just a quarry?
The past of Weil der Stadt as an important Roman trading center can still be seen in the name Wil (Roman “villa” = estate). It was probably built on the remains of a Roman Villa Rustica. Also, the town’s coat of arms bears the Latin lettering SPQR (Senatus Populusque Romanus, Senate and People of Rome).
Already the Romans arranged their important settlements and roads along prehistoric cult sites all over Europe. Perhaps another clue that this may be more than just an abandoned ancient quarry?
On the other hand, the visible drill holes on some of the stone blocks, which appear to be more recent, may indeed indicate a quarry. In the end, however, it is not possible to determine whether these were made in recent times or in the distant past.