The LVR-LandesMuseum Bonn invites its visitors on a travel through time: one of the oldest museums in Germany, it presents prehistory and early history of man, the Roman period, and the early Middle Ages with original finds, reconstructions, and pictures. 42,000-year-old fossil remains of the extinct Homo Neanderthalensis human are on display here, among other things, together with statues of Roman deities and grave goods of a Frankish prince from the 6th century.
Letting the gaze roam across the 16 bones of the Neanderthal skeleton found during lime quarrying in Mettmann in 1856, explorers may feel themselves transposed to the wildly romantic natural landscape of the Neandertal valley with its steep limestone cliffs, narrow gorges, and the Düssel-Bach stream. They were found in the clay of the Feldhofer Grotte, a cave where prehistoric people used to live. One exhibition part of the LVR-LandesMuseum shows graphics, maps, and photographs to illustrate the story behind the significant finds that decisively influenced the theory of evolution.
Another archaeological highlight is waiting for museum visitors a few corridors onwards: The gravestone of Roman officer Marcus Caelius, the only known physical evidence of the historical event in which three Roman legions suffered a decisive defeat against a Germanic army in the second half of 9 AD, is telling of the Varus Battle. Its inscription “Bello Variano” could as well have been carved into the stone just recently. Incredible as it is, this relic has survived the centuries virtually unharmed until it was found at Fürstenberg in the district of Wesel, where the military camp Vetera once stood, in 1620. It has been in the museum’s hands since 1893 as a permanent loan from the University of Bonn.
The museum collection also comprises innumerable objects from the history of life and culture in the Rhineland, dating back more than 450,000 years. The museum’s earliest predecessor was founded as the “Antiquitätenkabinett Rheinisch-Westphälischer Alterthümer” back in 1820. It has always striven to advance provenance research, preserve archaeological treasures, and make them accessible to the public. An art-historical collection supplements the surprisingly diverse inventory with paintings, graphics, photos, sculptures, and handicrafts today.
Visitors interested in the scientific study of money can also come to learn about coins, medals, paper, and substitute money such as scales and other numismatic objects here, near the main railway station. The LVR-LandesMuseum Bonn has more than 100,000 exhibits from this subject area for use in special exhibition presentations.