Home | Archaeology Magazine | More Digs | AIA
Archaeology's Interactive Dig
July 2003-July 2010InteractiveDig Sagalassos
The palatial mansion seen from the Upper Agora. The excavations in room XLIV are in the upper left corner.
The division wall between rooms XLIV (left) and reception hall XXII (right) with its window placed right on top of the arched door; the dented SE corner and the springing of the concrete vault are clearly visible.

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

Domestic Area: July 18-22, 2004

Ine Jacobs, Mustafa Kiremitçi, and Jeroen Vermeersch continued excavating north of the mansion's reception hall this week. Along the northern edge of their trench, they encountered a section of mortared rubble wall with an east-west orientation. Its preservation, especially toward the west, is unfortunately very bad. But the eastern half of the area delivered more satisfying results concerning the villa's architecture. There, a very well preserved room proved to be the northern continuation of the late Roman reception hall (XXII) on the upper terrace of the palatial mansion (see plan). The rougher foundations of the adjoining house on a terrace above and east of the mansion also continued toward the north. By the end of the week, another wall emerged, which formed the room's western extremity. This means that this room was not the same as room XXXI, of which we partially exposed the southwest corner in 2002. As a result, we are dealing here with a new room, connected to the reception hall by a arched door, of which we already uncovered the upper part. The walls of this squarish room consist of rather regularly placed mortared rubble (limestone), alternating with several bricklayers, while its corners are built of regular tuff blocks. The latter form dented pilasters that must have served to reinforce the springing of a vaulted ceiling, parts of which we found along the east wall. Because of their lighter weight, tuff blocks were also used for the edges of a large window, the eastern post of which rested right upon the center of the arched door. But, as the remains of a vaulted ceiling show, the room did not function as a light well for the surrounding rooms. In the northeastern corner its east wall continues in the same building technology farther north, meaning that there is still another (row of) chamber(s) there. This brings the total number of rooms from 43 to at least 45. It also means that the excavation for finding the northern limit of the mansion will have to be postponed to one of the following campaigns.

The assumption that the windows in the arched recesses of the corridor (see space XXXVI on plan) that took visitors directly from the street to the vestibule (room XXXV) and waiting lounge (XVII) in front of the upper floor reception hall (XXII) opened on a kind of street or galley may have to be abandoned. First of all, the house does not need to have a rectangular plan, so that the east wing can be larger than the western part. Similar encroachments upon smaller streets are already known from the "Terrace Houses" at Ephesos. Second, there must have been somewhere light wells to illuminate the succession of rooms. In any case, the enormous urban villa thus seems to have been even larger than was assumed at the beginning of the campaign. Next week, we hope to get more information about the organization of the northeastern part of the house, since we will be uncovering the presumed passage to room XXXI to the west, and maybe another one to the north. The impressively built east wall, which is identical with that of the reception hall, suggests that we are dealing here with the reception and public area of the mansion.

Previous pageNext page

InteractiveDig is produced by ARCHAEOLOGY Magazine
© 2010 Archaeological Institute of America

Home | Archaeology Magazine | More Digs | AIA