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Monday, 22 Mar 2021

800 year old graves uncovered on Petriplatz

Archäologie Petriplatz Ausgrabung Claudia Melisch
Auf dem ehemaligen Kirchhof im Zentrum Berlins sind noch einige unerforschte Gräberfunde zu erwarten.
Archäologin Claudia Melisch, Expertin für das mittelalterliche Berlin, wird die kommenden drei Monate nach Spuren der ersten Berlinerinnen und Berliner suchen.

Before the construction of the House of One starts, archaeologist Claudia Melisch is once again excavating the former churchyard of St. Peter's Church. The expert on medieval Berlin expects to find more graves from the city's founding years in the coming weeks. "Soon there will be news to report about the first Berliners," Melisch said on Monday (March 22, 2021), "Every grave we discover tells us more about the living conditions of these people."

The first excavations from 2007 to 2015 showed that the oldest graves were build in the second half of the 12th century. The archaeologist therefore assumes that there must also have been a church, the first Petri Church, at the site. "This may have been a simple wooden building," says Melisch. Traces of it have therefore not been found so far. During the initial investigations excavation director Melisch was already able to uncover more than 3,000 graves in the former churchyard with almost 4,000 skeletons.

Archaeological tour (in German)

Anyone who wants to know more about the eventful history at the original site of Berlin can find out during guided tours with Claudia Melisch. During the excavation period, which is expected to last three months, the archeologist Claudia Melisch will bring the world of medieval Berliners to life in a virtual tour. (Only in German)


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From the Christian church to the House of Three Religions - there is also a lot to tell about this and the historical excursion is therefore supplemented by a look into the future. Representatives of the House of One will provide information about the interreligious peace project, which is being built on the foundations of the Christian church and for which the prehistory of the place is conceptually of great importance.


If it should be possible again in June, a one-hour tour will take place on 11th June at 4pm.
We would meet at the corner of Brüderstraße and Scharrenstraße at Petriplatz, 10178 Berlin.

Registrations via Because of the ongoing pandemic restrictions a registriation is necessary to participate. Thank you.

The tour is free of charge. Donations always welcome.


Backdate Berlin's founding date


Until now, the document of 1237 by the priest named Symeon, the first known preacher of St. Peter's Church, was considered the official birth certificate of Berlin. With the discovery of further testimonies of city inhabitants from the time around 1150, evidence will also increase that the city is probably almost a hundred years older.

Until the 1960s, St. Peter's Church was the spiritual center of Petriplatz and its neighborhood. In 1964, St. Peter's Church, which had only been consecrated in 1853 and had been damaged in the Second World War, was blown up. This was to make room for the redevelopment of East Berlin as a socialist showcase metropolis and capital of the DDR. Before that, there were at least three other churches that were destroyed by fire and rebuilt in modified forms.


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