The first test excavation of the season started this week under the supervision of Jeroen Poblome and Peter Talloen. The area selected for it followed on the results of the geophysical survey conducted by the Slovenian team under direction of Branko Music in 2003. This revealed a concentration of kiln-like structures and workshops immediately east and northeast of the theater of Sagalassos, thus constituting an westward extension of the artisanal zone known as the "Potters' Quarter." The aim of the current excavations is to check on the nature, functionality, and chronology of the related workshop structures. The spot that was selected for it corresponds with the lower right corner of the green square of the geophysical map in the introduction. There, two black dots surrounded by a white circle suggested the presence of two kilns or furnaces.
The first results of those excavations provided an enhanced interpretation and a confirmation of the geophysical campaign since the location of the kilns proved to be in situ as suggested by the strong magnetic anomalies registered last year. The signals of those kilns, however, proved very strong (see picture) and, as a result, obscured signals of associated walls and wall fragments.
From an archaeological viewpoint, the extent of a new workshop complex could be established in the terrain, encompassing an area of ca. 30 by 25 m. Within this area we discovered substantial wall remains, but the general plan of the complex still remains to be reconstructed. For now, the remains of a courtyard were identified with a width of approximately 7 m (length to be determined). Attached to the eastern side of the courtyard were at least three elongated spaces, separated by mortared-rubble walls. In the southernmost space, next to the back wall of the courtyard, we discovered the remains of a first kiln. A second kiln was located possibly in the middle of the northernmost space. The remains of these kilns have not yet been excavated. So far they can be reconstructed as circular up-draft kilns of which the lower part of the firing chamber may still be in situ. In construction both kilns are comparable to the late Roman workshop excavated in the eastern part of the Potters' Quarter between 1997 and 2002. The supporting structure is made of tiles and brick clad and supported by local clays. In general the remains of the workshop currently under excavation are of a relatively better quality compared to the earlier excavated workshops. The walls are thicker (0.70 - 0.95 m) consisting of carefully arranged rubble stones laid in mortar.
Upon abandonment, the workshop has been thoroughly cleared of its content and its structural remains were taken down in order to be recycled. Remains of this process were noted at various locations on the walking levels, consisting of constructional rubble and other waste material including a fair amount of animal bones. The remains proved to be covered by eroded soil materials. Thus far no date of the workshop could be given yet.