The last days of the excavations (August 21-25) brought its inevitable stress on all teams. While the excavation continued in the Odeion until August 30, all other teams started preparing the site for the winter, building dry walls made of reused Roman brick against the sometimes high profiles of the trenches to prevent them from collapsing in the winter, or filling up again exposed and valuable floors. The conservation team jointly directed by Mehmet Köyütürk and Cengiz Cetin and further composed of Esra Aydemir, Serdar Akgönül, Nilgün Akkara, Turgay Arikan, and Hüliya Ercan was busy at each excavation site for consolidation, cleaning and closing up as well as continuing the interventions already at hand.
The initial program for the Domestic Area was completed this week. Therefore, a small team could start the consolidation of the newly excavated arches defining the south wall of atrium XLV in the palatial mansion.
The rest of the workmen were active in the Macellum and in the shops on the Lower Agora. Towards the end of the last week, the necessary capping of the west wall's tops and the support of the leaning upper section of the north wall of room 1 in the Macellum (see Macellum, August 7-18) were completed. This was certainly necessary to conserve the architectural remains of this space, which otherwise could have collapsed in winter.
More workers could operate on the Lower Agora. By August 25, the concentrated efforts of the team really made a difference for the general perception of the Lower Agora. Each wall was capped and pointed, which brought a much clearer definition to the ruined spaces without giving a totally renewed look to the architectural remains.
At the Roman Baths, the exposed mosaic floor was cleaned for photography and documentation by the drawing team. This work was done with the cooperation of the excavation teams in the Roman Bath and their workmen. Afterwards the mosaics were covered with layers of geotextile, sand and pumice, whereas all mortared wall sections were also wrapped in geotextile and filled with sand and pumice behind brick walls.
All our conservators also concentrated at consolidating wall plasters all over the site. Towards the end of the week we sadly had to say goodbye to the highly professional and enthusiast conservators coming from Ankara University's Technical High School of Conservation, who had to leave us for taking on duties elsewhere (Cengiz Cetin, Esra Aydemir, Serdar Akgönül and Turgay Arikan).
This meant that for the final week of conservation (September 3-8), after all archaeologists and most architects had gone home, the remaining conservation activities came to rest on the broad and skilful shoulders of architect Mehmet Köyütürk who joined us again this year, to everybody's satisfaction, after completing his military service. Conservators Nilgün Akkara and Hüliya Ercan still assisted him.
Because of Mehmet's management capabilities, the site conservation team was well prepared for the proper closing up of the site. All necessary materials had been ordered days ahead and the number of workmen needed for this extensive task was carefully determined. In fact, some of the excavation workmen now joined the conservation team. A small group of them continued to complete the consolidation of the newly exposed rooms of the Palatial Villa. The two remaining conservators, Nilgün and Hülya were kept busy by the plastered wall sections of the Macellum and of the basilica in the former Apollo Klarios shrine (see Apollo Klarios, August 21-25).
Mehmet Köyütürk, who was responsible for the application of the architectural consolidations, under the supervision of Ebru Torun, was entirely focused on closing each site up. This year, as the team was swift and well equipped to deal with the problems of the site, no "temporary coverings" or "temporary cappings" were needed. So the team of Mehmet could deal with proper protection of the mosaic floors of the Roman Baths, the plastered wall sections that have been treated and the organization of the depots. With the help of Ugur Gürsoy, one of our young architects, they were successful to neatly and securely close up the site by the end of the weekend. We are very grateful to Mehmet, who brought in his friendly and professional attitude to our new team and practically coordinated the entire conservation works throughout the long season. We hope we can get him back next year.
In the mean time, our other young architects have been overloaded with the difficult task of detailed documentation of all interventions. As the volume of the work and the areas that were covered by the conservation team had considerably grown this year, the documentation needed a new definition and the necessary amount of time had to be dedicated for this purpose. The team realized this early enough and developed a scheme of documentation. Our scientific approach to the question of site conservation at Sagalassos found its reflection in approximately 100 sheets of digital documentation, prepared using Photoshop and AutoCad software. At the beginning of the campaign, Ebru Torun developed a system of scientific recording for the young team of architects. Each section that was to be treated was first analyzed for its problems. This analysis helped to choose the interventions. As a result, a consistent approach could be applied to the conservation problems all over the site. Both analysis and the interventions were brought together on presentation sheets, which ended up to be a scientific record of the state of the site at the beginning and at the end of the campaign, eventually saved in a large number of CD-roms documenting each intervention before, during and after its completion.
The team is grateful to our young architects, Pinar Aykac, Ugur Gursoy, Figen Kivilcim and Göze Uner, who were the last to leave the ship, as they stayed longer than the rest of the group to give the finishing touches to our documentation project.
It has been a very successful campaign for site conservation, where a fresh, friendly, skilful team set up a sustainable approach for the problems of the site. As an excavation director I never left the site with such a feeling of gratitude towards our conservators, who had completed the whole planned program and with such a conviction that everything necessary to protect the site had been carried out.