|The excavations of the late-Roman to early-Byzantine encroachment west of the temple|
|Opening the second trench where we found a mid-Byzantine wall structure|
|Photos courtesy Sagalassos Archaeological Research Project. Click on images to enlarge.||
|by Marc Waelkens|
Sanctuary of Hadrian and Antoninus Pius: August 15-19, 2004
This is the only excavation of this campaign that will continue after August 19. Last week, as the team's main effort was concentrated on clearing the natatio or swimming pool of the Roman Baths, only few days were spent on the sanctuary itself. In the first trench opened last week (see Hadrian & Antoninus Pius Sanctuary, August 8-12), the early second-century A.D. floor substrate associated with the construction of the temple was uncovered in all rooms. In some places even the underlying limestone bedrock was exposed. The substrate proved to be removed in some parts of the trench during the early Byzantine period. A levelling layer dated to the late fifth-early sixth century A.D. and covering the second-century A.D. deposit of small stones, contained architectural fragments belonging to the sanctuary, which indicates that the sacred complex was already (partially) dismantled at the time of the first encroachment. The altar that must have stood here had been completely removed up to its foundations.
Upon completion of the first trench, a second one was laid out to the northeast, along the same line as the first trench of last year's campaign (see Field Notes 2003, Antoninus Pius Sanctuary, July 13-19). The aim of this second test sounding is to uncover any traces of an Early and Middle Byzantine occupation outside the sacred precinct, as well as to find further indications of discarded material dumped against the northern temenos wall, which may very well be associated with the ritual activities taking place inside the imperial sanctuary. Only the top layer has so far been removed, uncovering a wall of dry-laid rubble stones and spolia running north-south across the entire trench. The ceramics retrieved from this layer allows it to be associated with the Middle Byzantine occupation of the site (ninth-tenth to eleventh-twelfth centuries A.D.). Within this deposit pottery a late Ottoman period was found. On Thursday one also found the back of a limestone male portrait head, which according to its hairdo belonged to the later third century A.D.
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