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July 2003-July 2010InteractiveDig Sagalassos
The bridge giving access to the Roman Baths excavations. Frigidarium 2 is located in the left part of the picture.
The green cipollino wall revetment slabs still covering the curved niche near the eastern extremity of the frigidarium's north wall.
The frigidarium-apodyterium space seen from the Upper Agora. The two tubs in the south wall of the dressing room are visible in the niches covered with white cloth.

The poetic inscription reused in the back wall of the recently exposed bathtub

The eye-like motif from the pilaster separating the eastern bathtub of the dressing room from the frigidarium's semicircular niche

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

Roman Baths: August 1-5, 2004

Frigidarium 2
This week, our team concentrated excavating along the northern edge of frigidarium 2. Last week, the excavation trench was extended toward the north. This was done because the north wall of the room was encountered inside the excavation trench's northern profile, which involved the risk of a collapse of the debris covering the upper part of the wall. After we completely exposed the latter, excavations started again in the northeast corner of the large room. The aim of this excavation was to find the northeast end of the piscina (pool). The other team in the Roman Baths tried to find the southwest end of the swimming pool. By finding the corners of the piscina it would be possible to calculate the surface of the pool. It would also be easier to calculate the total amount of work needed to free the pool from rubble. At the end of the week, the two excavation teams of the Roman Baths once more joined forces in order to excavate the area around the southwest end of the pool. This was necessary in order to allow our team to make use of the only wheelbarrow bridge that gave access to the frigidarium.

This week, the total width of the large curved recess (immediately to the east of the pool, of which only the southern extremity had been exposed in 2003, see Field Notes 2003, Roman Baths, August 17-23) could be established at 4.85 m. Its depth was 0.90 m. To the north, the east wall of the room still continues in a straight line over a distance of 1.90 m. There, it is interrupted by a door that leads to one of the rooms with the piers of large stone blocks symmetrically placed at either side of the main frigidarium (see plan). In 2003, a similar door was found south of the recess. In the north wall of the room we excavated the contours of a semicircular niche that corresponded with a similar niche in the south wall of the frigidarium. Its dimensions are almost identical with those of its southern counterpart. In this niche, nice rectangular marble revetment slabs in green-white cipollino from Euboia (Greece) were found in place. If the revetment slabs continue until the floor level, they may be as high as 1.30 m. At the end of the week, we found the southwest corner of the large swimming pool (piscina). The inner length of the pool is about 8.20 m, and its raised edge is about 0.30 m wide. If the pool is indeed placed following the principles of axial symmetry within the room, the surface of the swimming pool should be about 55.5 square meters. Thus it might be possible to expose the floor of the swimming pool during the remaining two weeks before the end of this campaign. This week we found a bronze coin dating to the reign of Heraclius (A.D. 603-610) inside the rubble. Another special find was a cluster of bones from the upper and lower legs of sheep and goats. The feet as well as the bodies and the heads were missing. A few years ago a similar find was made in the praefurnium of caldarium 1. Archaezoological research indicates that after its destruction in the course of the seventh century A.D., the remaining part of the room was used for a common meal by at least 50 to 100 people (see Subsistence Studies, August 1-5). Throughout the week, unusually large amounts of crustae (marble revetment slabs) have been found that are mainly composed of green-white cipollino from Euboia, purple veined pavonazetto marble from Dokimeion, white marble, and even some small pieces of red porphyry, which is a type of igneous rock. Literally hundreds of kilos of crustae were recovered from the rubble. Fragments such as cornices, frames, pilaster bases, and Corinthian pilaster capitals bore reliefs. We also found lots of small rectangular, triangular and curved pieces of colored marble belonging to the decoration of the walls. The most beautiful finds where that of figurative mosaic tiles in the form of leaves with incised veins.

Apodyterium A 2
This week in the western part of the same large space (the so-called apodyterium A 2 section) we completely excavated the second niche from the west in the room's south wall. The small bathtub, of which the still-in-place parapet was recognized 2 weeks ago (see Roman Baths, July 18-22), produced more evidence than expected. Not only was the floor preserved in an excellent condition, but also most of the marble wall veneer of the bath itself was still present along the walls. We had noticed earlier that the balustrade was still standing upright, and this week we discovered this week that the steps in front of it, as well as those inside the bath, were in very good condition. Inside the tub, we collected a bulk of shattered marble slabs, some of which were very large. The presence of such large fragments gives us a clue how the upper parts of the wall were decorated. We found pilaster capitals and bases, marble slabs with fluting, and dentils with red paint in their recesses. The amount of metal clamps found stood in immediate correlation with the amount of marbles which they once kept in place. The marble slabs that were still attached to the walls--within the basin itself--were clearly reused. In the southwest corner a large fragment of an inscription was attached to the wall and recognized as part of a poetic text by W. Eck. Another fragment of the same text was found within the loose debris. The remaining mortar was attached to the side of the text, which means that more fragments could have been reused in the wall veneer with the text directed towards the wall. On the steps in front of the tub, new parts of a large dedication were reused. It became more and more clear that from the fourth century A.D. onward inscribed marble veneer from all over the site was reused along the walls, in the floors, and in the pools of the Roman Baths. Among the pieces of inscribed veneer we found several other fragments of an Egyptianizing representation of a king (?) apparently slaying an enemy with a club or ax. The style is purely Egyptian and similar to that of several other slabs discovered last week and in past seasons (see Roman Baths, July 25-29). This means that somewhere in Sagalassos there must have been a structure decorated with motifs that without a doubt were carved by Egyptian craftsmen. It is known that Sagalassos had very close ties with Alexandria and that the cults of Isis, Serapis, and Harpokrates were very popular among the population. However, this kind of find still seems exceptional in Turkey. The floor of the tub itself consisted of 15 large-veined limestone slabs that all had different bright colors (pink, red, blue, gray, green and yellow). They had been polished through long use inside this coldwater basin.

The rest of the week, we worked our way up north and cleared the southern half of the room till about 5-10 cm above floor level. In front of the brick pilaster that separates this central bath tub from the curved niche farther east, we recovered hundreds of small pieces (opus sectile) in white, yellow, dark blue, and purplish-red limestone. They formed heart-shaped, eye-shaped or leaf-shaped motives were recovered. They are found together with simple geometric motifs in somewhat larger opus sectile. The larger fragments were black and white. Apparently some stylized panels, possibly containing both figural and vegetal motifs, once made the facing of this pilaster. Only one fragment, forming an "eye" (?), could be retrieved; this fragment gives us an idea of the original make-up of this panel(s).

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