Drei Lohen

Three blazes

Basle, C16/17
Fired clay
length 12.5 15.5 cm
Inv. 1920.308/309. and 1921.36.

4822px x 3776px
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Because of the city's geographical location at the intersection of established trade routes, its political position at the meeting¬point of three countries and the proximity of powerful noble families, Basle watched over its boundaries with especial vigilance. As in other places the boundary lines were marked with stones. Boundary offences and the moving of boundary stones were quite severely punished. Several 'Gescheide' (land courts) supervised the boundary markings and had to adjudicate in disputes relating to them; 'Bannwarte' (field wardens) were employed by them. Boundary stones, generally rectangular blocks from local quarries, stood about 50 to 80 cm above the ground. Usually the coat of arms of the ruling authority was chiselled on the face, and the date of the year in which they were set up. As boundary stones could easily be moved, Tohen (blazes) were laid beneath them as a secret sign in the form of clay cones, clay disks or simple pebbles. In boundary disputes only the blazes counted as legally valid; they were thus the binding symbol of legal surveys.

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