|Research and hard work reveal a long hidden corner of the Schloss|
In 1982, Robert Keller planned to install a simple wash stand in his garden at 11 Schlossgasse. By chance, however, he discovered that the space he had chosen under the surface was blocked by some kind of large stones. He realized that it could be the remains of the Merlau schloss and had to investigate. The laundry room would have to wait.
In the state archives in Darmstadt, he found a plan of the schloss from 1772, and yes, it was clear that part of the schloss was under his garden. Robert and his wife Elisabeth surveyed the garden and compared it with the 1772 plan and then started digging. Eventually, they uncovered the first foundation stone one meter below ground.
Little did they know that their work had just begun. In total, the excavations lasted two years until they had uncovered part of the northwest porch. They informed Mr. Manfred Blechschmidt, the district acheological preservation officer, about their work and he arranged for an entry in the official records. Mr. Blechschmidt cautioned Robert not to excavate any further, but to take measures to preserve what had already been found. Robert and Elisabeth then collected over 100 larch timbers, each 1.20 meters long, and used them to reinforce the earthen wall around the excavation.
Of course, the excavated walls of the old schloss attracted great interest. In 1997, there were about 1,000 visitors who came to visit the site during the 800th anniversary celebrations of the founding of Merlau.
Over time, Robert has had to keep the old walls free of weeds and maintain them, given the damage that summer and winter can do to such remains. Robert moved away from Merlau in the recent past and lives near his son in Linden. The excavation is now privately owned and is unfortunately no longer accessible to the public.