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July 2003-July 2010InteractiveDig Sagalassos
View of the conservation activities of the Northeast Building with the edges of the cistern covered by wet bags in the foreground and the closed off original entrance to the corridor of the structure behind it. The arcades are visible in the background.

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

Upper Agora: July 4-8, 2004

Our team, supervised by Toon Putzeys (KULeuven, Belgium) and Murat Nagis (Ankara University), continues excavating the Northeast Building, originally a public structure of unknown function built in the early Imperial period. After an earthquake in A.D. 500, the building became a series of arcaded workshops fronted by a common corridor. We expanded the excavation area towards the east in order to further expose the total extent of the building and its connection to the supposed colonnaded street south of it. During the early seventh century A.D. at least some of the arcaded rooms in the back were partially sealed off and used as public dumping place. At the same time, some of the main entrances to the corridor running along the front of the building were also closed off. A large cistern encroached upon the street in front of the corridor, indicating stress in the water supply of the city. We will further examine both the corridor and the cistern.

We removed two stratigraphical units in the excavation trench: the topsoil and layer 2, which is characterized by a concentration of disintegrated mortar and architectural fragments. Among them, there was a fragmentary statue base with half a human foot and the hoof of a goat next to it, probably reused in the early Byzantine walls. What is most likely a god(dess) with a smaller Pan or Satyr next to him/her rested on the base. The statue may relate to the cycle around Dionysos as it belonged to the nearby late Antonine nymphaeum, which was totally decorated and filled with statuary referring to the cult of Dionysos.

Toward the end of the week we cleared a new wall (1) in the northeastern corner of the excavation trench. Made of mortared rubble and brick, it has a different orientation than the other N-S dividing walls of the complex. However, in this trench the division wall (between the arcaded back rooms and the corridor in front of them) also seems to change direction toward the northeast. The change is more or less perpendicular to wall 1, suggesting another orientation of the street system here and of the buildings aligned with it. Further excavation will make the relationship between both areas of the building more clear.

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