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July 2003-July 2010InteractiveDig Sagalassos
The remains of the sanctuary with arrows indicating the two areas we will investigate this summer

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

Sanctuary of Hadrian and Antoninus Pius: Introduction

The remains of the sanctuary on the terrace southeast of the lower city were already studied by Count Karl von Lanckoronski in the late nineteenth century, and again by Marc Waelkens in 1988. These architectural surveys documented a sacred precinct with an east-west orientation. The sanctuary consisted of a courtyard surrounded on all four sides by a portico and accessible through a propylon (gateway) in the west temenos (sanctuary) wall. Within the courtyard stood a Corinthian peripteros (perimeter colonnade) of six by 11 columns, facing west and built on a krepidoma (stepped base). Last year we unearthed part of the building inscription of the temple. The inscription confirmed its dedication to both the divine (i.e. the deceased) Hadrian and Antoninus Pius, a fact that was already suggested by the architectural ornamentation of the sanctuary. Ceramic evidence confirmed what the layout of the shrine's courtyard was in the mid-second century. This sanctuary consisted of two steps carrying rounded columns surmounted by an Ionic entablature. It measured approximately 7.74 m in depth. North of the Ionic portico's back wall that is surrounding the courtyard, outside the actual temenos, we recorded the remains of an early second-century furnace. These remains can perhaps be related to metal production that was dependent upon the construction of the temple complex. On top of this we found a possible deposit of ritual waste that is possibly related to the festivities held in the context of the imperial cult.

During the second half of the fifth century A.D., a first encroachment phase of private (?) structures took place inside the portico and the temple courtyard. On top of this, a second encroachment phase, consisting of wide rectangular space, was constructed in the aftermath of the earthquake in the early sixth century. This time material from the collapsed temple was reused.

Our archaeological survey of the promontory also yielded some ceramic material dating from the mid-Byzantine period, which suggests the occupation of the promontory after the abandonment of the city-center of Sagalassos occurred during the second half of the seventh century. This occupation was confirmed by sherds and structures that we uncovered in the upper strata of the 2003 test soundings. The strategic and easily defendable location of the promontory, as well as its long rectangular structures, suggest a systematic planning effort. Some type of central military authority during the ninth to eleventh century A.D. may have possibly initiated this effort. In any case, this information concerns the last widespread occupation at Sagalassos we documented thus far. Later, only a fortress, dated to the twelfth-thirteenth centuries, occupied the top of Alexander's Hill farther south.

In 2004, we will investigate two areas: the eastern part of the northern portico and the central part of the temple square.

In the area of the northern portico, the aims are as follows:

  1. further establish the presumed line of the portico along the northern side of the sanctuary;

  2. confirm the occupation phases established in 2003, with special attention to the situation prior to the establishment of the temple and after the abandonment of Sagalassos;

  3. find further traces of construction and ritual activity outside the temenos.

On the temple square, in front of the temple we hope to accomplish the following:

  1. uncover further monuments related to the imperial cult;

  2. verify the extent and the nature of the mid Byzantine occupation;

  3. localize the altar associated with the temple, which is believed to be present in front of the temple in the axis of the courtyard.

See plan of the Hadrian & Antoninus Pius Sanctuary.

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