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Stone scallops

Notes on evidence of medieval building culture along the way

The scallop shell is the symbol of St. James the Apostle and all pilgrims on the Way of St. James. Based on this symbolism, stone scallop shells or a stylized scallop shell with the European star wreath form the central signposts of the project. Embedded in the ground and provided with information boards, they refer to the evidence of medieval building culture along the paths of the pilgrims and the surrounding area.

Collectively, along the path axes in the project space, they form a string of pearls - a poetic star trail - of the architectural and artistic contemporary witnesses that may already have been present for the pilgrims of St. James in the Middle Ages. These include the great cathedrals in Mainz, Worms and Speyer, Strasbourg Cathedral and Metz Cathedral, as well as numerous lesser-known medieval (village) churches, castles and other gems - unique historical treasures whose art-historical and spiritual expressiveness and significance have often been forgotten today.

A stone scallop is created

If a location meets the requirements for the installation of a stone scallop shell or the erection of an information board, these markings can be applied for from the project manager.

From original Galician scallop stones, molds are made under the expert guidance of a sculptor. The scallops are cast into these molds according to a special recipe consisting mainly of ground stone, pigments and binders. The stone scallop can then be set flush in the ground in a concrete bed in a place in front of the medieval cultural monument.

The production process takes place under the auspices of the Saarbrücken Regional Association and is carried out by young people from the Zentrum für Bildung und Beruf Saar gGmbH in Burbach (ZBB) as part of qualification measures. The co-financing comes from the European Social Fund (ESF).

Installation of a stone scallop

The installation of the stone scallop and the information board will be accompanied by the project executing agency through public relations work and, if desired, can be celebrated as part of a public ceremony. The marking of the medieval building culture on the Starry Paths with stone scallops or information boards has a process character and develops organically. It is essentially driven by the regional responsible persons, e.g. churches, municipalities or cultural institutions that want to participate in the project.

Feldweg mit Ornament

Ornaments from field stones

In the Saarpfalz district and in the Saarbrücken region, selected positions are decorated with special ornaments. On the interactive map they are marked with a yellow triangle. The town entrance bands with a red square with a star, the town exit bands with an empty red square and the historical stars with a white star in a red circle.

Historical way embroidery

Since Roman times, roads in this cultural landscape were paved by means of carefully joined stitched shell limestones, which were also obtained from the surrounding fields. Many of the paths used at that time have disappeared today or have been built over by newer roads. Every now and then, however, the old, sunken paths can be “lifted” and thus rediscovered. Their particular historical embroideries are then cleaned and repaired. These valorizations are accompanied by various employment policy companies, such as the ZBB in Saarbrücken and the Society for work and qualification (AQuis GmbH) of the Saarpfalz district.

In various places, there are also larger, new segments of embroidered fieldstones that quote the historical path fortifications in the region. Such “ground citations” can be found in various forms near Medelsheim, Herbitzheim, Gräfinthal and on the Dragoon Trail.

Tower hoods

As historical sources show, some medieval churches in the region originally had tower domes made of limestone, similar to the existing church tower dome in Hornbach-St. Johann. Along the roadside in Medelsheim and Bliesransbach, these stone tower hoods are commemorated by a sign made of pyramid-shaped limestone. The medieval round towers of Bebelsheim are represented by conical path ornaments.

Town Entrance & Town Exit Tapes

These are narrow bands of field stones that cross the path before and after the respective villages. The village entrance bands are adorned with a star on the right-hand side. These decorative ribbons are reminiscent of the historical path fortifications in this cultural landscape. A star embedded in the ribbon refers to the myth of the Starry Paths, but also contains a regional reference to a medieval star that can be discovered as an original in the surrounding area. Such decorative ribbons - but without the star motif - have also been placed at the exits of the villages.


The floor works decorated with stars refer to the name “Starry Path” used for the pilgrimage routes of St. James since the Middle Ages. Star motifs, which can be discovered in work stones or wall paintings of various cultural monuments of the region, served as models. Almost all the stars are based on variants of a construction principle of medieval building geometry. Under the guidance of a stone sculptor, each individual star was carved into fieldstone based on the medieval patterns.

The surviving historical models are shown on the interactive map with a white star outlined in red.

Stars in the city entrance bands

In the Saarpfalz district and the Saarbrücken region, a wide variety of star motifs can be found on the right-hand side of each town entrance ribbon to welcome pilgrims. The individual motifs are based on regional historical models.

The left side of the cross-border ribbons is also emblazoned with the star of the neighboring Lorraine Hombourg-Hauts, they say “Bienvenue”.

Special entrances to the village

As an exception, the entrance to Medelsheim is decorated with a relief of stars.

The entrance band in front of the Wintringer farm is decorated with a repaired historical embroidery with a new star stone.


On the southern route near Auersmacher and on the northern route before Blieskastel, the stone stars each form an entire field of stars, a campus stellae. Here, the many hand-made “sample stones” were mainly collected by young people from the Saarpfalz district and the Saarbrücken region. Another special feature can be found on the so-called “Ghost Bridge”, which leads over the northern route of the Way of St. James to Saarbrücken-St. Arnual to the collegiate church. Here, hand-painted stars trace the Milky Way/Voie Lacteé across the central segment of the bridge.