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July 2003-July 2010InteractiveDig Sagalassos
Left, Erol Dilekçi sorts out small faunal remains after wet sieving and flotation. Right, goat horns found inside a workshop in the Lower Agora.
Mehmet Asar uses the flotation station.

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

Subsistence Studies: Introduction

Bea Decupere (Royal Museum of Central Africa, Tervuren) helped by her well-trained workman Erol Dilekçi, started archaeozoological research this week. Identifying the faunal material from 2003 that had not been studied yet was the first job, after which study of animal remains collected during this campaign was initiated. Although these results still have to be incorporated within the database to draw firm conclusions, we can already make some observations.

A concentration of goat horn cores was found within the burnt layer 3 of room 10 in the East Portico at the Lower Agora (see Field Notes 2003, Lower Agora, South, August 24-30). This room may have continued its original function as a (work)shop after the early sixth-century A.D. transformation of the east portico into a restaurant (thermopolion). Some more specimens were collected in layer 2 above it. Most of these horn cores show chop marks at their base, indicating that they were removed from the skull. This could have taken place when the animals were slaughtered, after which the cores were thrown away. In this scenario, they are butchery refuse. But it is also possible that the horn cores, after removal, were collected and that the horn was cut off from the cores for working. However, no evidence of horn working has been found here, although it was found in other contexts from previous campaigns. Among the Lower Agora horn cores, specimens from both males and females were identified. Just as cattle butchery refuse was found thrown into and around the by-then-disused Trajanic street fountain along the northeast east access to the Lower Agora, ovicaprines and especially goats may have been slaughtered near the southeast corner of the same square. This confirms once more that toward the end of its existence as a major settlement in the seventh century A.D., Sagalassos had become a predominantly rural community, hardly distinguishable from the large villages within its former territory, except, perhaps, by its monumental remains.

Study of faunal remains from the Potters' Quarter revealed no new aspects. The majority of the material represents consumption refuse, i.e. the bones of cattle, goat, sheep, and pig. Some bits of a donkey and a dog were found within the top layer. During past campaigns, remains of carcasses were frequently identified at the Potters' Quarter. This area, located at a certain distance from the urban center, was used in antiquity for disposal of dead animals.

Last year our macrobotanist Thijs Van Thuyne trained one of our Turkish workmen how to use the flotation station in order to retrieve all macrobotanical remains and even to sort out the latter. In preparation of his return to the site, the very competent Mehmet Asar, with a young assistant, Ömer Toprak, put the flotation station to work this week.

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