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July 2003-July 2010InteractiveDig Sagalassos
Sampling alluvial sediments on a plateau above Dereköy
The shop area behind the western portico
Flakes of iron and droplets of hammerscale from the smithing workshop west of the Upper Agora, attached to a magnet

Photos courtesy Sagalassos Archaeological Research Project. Click on images to enlarge.
by Marc Waelkens

Metallurgical Studies: August 3-9, 2003

Prospection for ores and ancient extraction sites
The frequent occurrence of iron slag in excavation layers from the first to the seventh century A.D., proves the continuous working of metal at Sagalassos, and previous geochemical surveys in the city's territory have identified several locations with a potential for ore extraction for iron production. To further investigate the geographical distribution of mineralization and metal-working here, and to identify additional ore extraction and metal-working locations, we carried out a detailed survey. The survey--performed by Philippe Muchez, Patrick Degryse, and Nathalie Kellens--examined the Bey Daglari massif, south of Sagalassos, and on the flank of the Lycean nappes near Sagalassos, between the city of Sagalassos and the Akdag Mountain. Sediments around the Bey Daglari massif and the Lycean nappes near Sagalassos were sampled as were ore deposits and metal working waste (slag, bloom, and furnace elements). These sample will be analyzed mineralogically (petrography, X-ray diffraction) and geochemically (Inductively Coupled Plasma-Mass Spectrometry, X-Ray Fluorescence) to identify and characterize the ore deposits and the metal production waste. Through chemical analysis of lead isotope ratio's of the samples with Thermally Ionised Mass Spectrometry, a possible relation between the different ore types, iron-working waste sampled in the territory and at Sagalassos, and iron artifacts from the city will be investigated. Traces of metal-working units were discovered both at Tekeli Tepe (Canakli) and Dereköy. Geochemical and mineralogical comparison of the different ore types, the iron-working waste, and the metal objects sampled, both in the territory and in the city, will provide further insight in the economy of iron working in the territory of Sagalassos.

A metal smithing workshop at Sagalassos
Earlier excavations on the west side of the Upper Agora, between this square and the former Bouleuterion and its courtyard, revealed several building phases for the portico complex, the original layout of which dates to the second century A.D. A first reorganization of the area, likely going back to the fifth century, resulted in the subdivision of the portico into several (work)shops. One two-roomed shop proved to be of special interest for concerning metal-processing activities. Revisiting this presumed workshop during last week by Patrick Degryse and Nathalie Kellens in fact proved the actual existence of metal smithing activities. The shop had been excavated in 2000, but when scanning the soil in both rooms with a magnet, flakes of iron and droplets of hammerscale (a waste product of hammering the hot iron into the final objects) were found. Also, one more smithing hearth bottom could be retrieved. Circular burning marks on the floor level were further investigated, again showing traces of iron flakes and hammerscale droplets. This late Roman floor level is more than likely the oldest phase of a metal-smithing workshop showing distinctive circular burnt marks associated with iron flakes and hammerscale droplets). On top of this floor level, another floor level (A.D. 450 to 550/575) was documented in 2000. It contained fragments of a furnace bottom in association with burnt clay pieces, tile fragments, and charcoal, most likely related to the most recent occupation of the metal workshop, which was possibly active until its final destruction with the mid-seventh-century earthquake.

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