Roman Gravestone at St. Michael's Church of Widdersberg – Herrsching am Ammersee, Germany - Atlas Obscura

Herrsching am Ammersee, Germany

Roman Gravestone at St. Michael's Church of Widdersberg

A carved grave marker from the 2nd century is mounted in the alcove wall of this Bavarian church. 

At first glance, the Church of St. Michael in the small village of Widdersberg looks much like the other baroque churches in the area. However, tucked away in an alcove on the outside of the southeast wall, a Roman gravestone dating back to the 2nd century can be seen.

Formed from a hefty slab of dolomite, the gravestone depicts a man and a woman, thought to be a married couple, surrounded by a wreath. Who these people were is not known. However, based on the stone’s design, historians believe it was probably originally carved in the nearby Roman Empire town of Augusta Vindelicorum (now the German city of Augsburg).

There is also evidence that after its initial use as a Roman grave marker, the carved stone may have had a second life. In faded red lettering on the face of the stone you can make out a date from the 1500s, and a cross. This raises the possibility that the gravestone was reused in the 16th century, possibly for a church official from the nearby monastery at Andechs.

  • St. Michael, Widdersberg. A booklet on the history of the church published by Schnell & Steiner GmbH, München und Zürich. (available to purchase inside the church for €2)