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July 2003-July 2010InteractiveDig Sagalassos
Ceramics from the Domestic Area (left) and the Northeast Gate (right)

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

Ceramic Studies: August 22-26, 2004

This campaign has seen the conclusion of its tenth week of pottery study supervised by Jeroen Poblome and Philip Bes (both KU Leuven). Although it will continue for two more weeks, an overview of this year's campaign can present some preliminary conclusions. At the same time, some results made last year will be looked at as well, adding some chronological depth.

Some locations have yielded evidence of the final occupation phase of Sagalassos. The North East Gate, a sixth-century A.D. construction in the northeastern corner of the Upper Agora, is one of the last places where human activity can be documented. Together with the study of the western portico here (see Upper Agora, July 4-29, and Ceramic Studies, July 25-29), a picture of this area of Sagalassos can now be cautiously reconstructed. Whereas occupation of the latter has now been dated from the middle of the fifth to the middle of the sixth centuries A.D., the North East Gate saw activity into the seventh century A.D. (Phase 9, ca. A.D. 550-650). The exact nature of this occupation is as yet not clear. Besides the imported amphora of unknown origins (see Ceramic Studies, August 8-12) and amphorae indicating economic connections with northern Syria and southern Palestine, a small amphora was found almost intact that was produced in the Aegean area. Another location, where seventh-century occupation has been found is the Domestic Area, a large urban villa northeast of the Roman Baths. Pottery dating into this century was found in several rooms here. As this urban villa now consists of 44 rooms, it is, however, unclear at present how this occupation should be seen. Whether or not it was only some small-scale occupation in some rooms or that all or most rooms were still in use will need further study.

The last assemblage of pottery to be studied, besides that from a small test excavation somewhat west of the theater, is from two sondages (trial trenches) made on the promontory of the Antoninus Pius temple. A specific stratigraphical layer found last year generated a pottery deposit dating to the third quarter of the second century A.D. The enormous amount of material as well as its composition suggested this to have been the refuse of a feast tentatively associated with the imperial cult.

Study of the pottery from the Domestic Area found this year and the past four years, as well as other sites, showed that a whole range of imported jugs and amphorae was present. After a more detailed study of this pottery we have been able to distinguish some 35 to 40 different clays or fabrics. Most of these are concerned with amphorae and future research will hopefully clarify the origins of some of these jugs and amphorae.

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