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July 2003-July 2010InteractiveDig Sagalassos
The exposed part of the Colonnaded Street toward the end of the week, seen from the North
The test sounding below the walking level of the portico. The debris layer is on top; below it is the nicely stratified filling laid out around the middle of the first century A.D.
Hasan Satilmis, previously a regional celebrity as an "oil wrestler" and now our team leader in the Colonnaded Streets, with the inscribed panel from one of the shops

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

Test Trenches on the N-S Colonnaded Street: July 24-28, 2005

This week, the street team, directed by Femke Martens and assisted by Bart De Graeve (both KULeuven), continued cleaning the paved surface of the North-South Colonnaded Street (so far, 25 m of it has been exposed), but mainly focused on the excavation of a 5 by 5 m trench inside the street's western portico. The width of this portico--the covered walkway between the street and the adjoining shops--could be established at ca. 3.50 m, as the front wall and the entrance of one of these shops were found. Within the portico proper we excavated three levels, which apart from the top layer, consisted of a foundation level and a debris layer, likely from the collapsed shops.

The compact subsurface layer of the last "walking level" of the portico, which had lost its original cover (probably paving slabs, as no large amounts of mosaic tesserae were found), was extremely rich, with large amounts of pottery, bone, and corroded metal fragments and slag, as well as some small coins. The majority of pottery belongs to the first half of the first century A.D., but the coins (except for a completely worn and broken Imperial one) were exclusively late Hellenistic to early Imperial city coins, most from Sagalassos itself. This may imply that this street already received its current width and layout in early Imperial times, when the occupied area was extended a few hundred meters to the south, between the Hellenistic South Gate (a bit farther south from our excavated area) and the Tiberian South Gate. This level also contained a relatively small amount of early Byzantine pottery, which may derive from the later insertion of a perfectly preserved terra-cotta water pipe found in this level near the edge of the portico. Continuation of the excavations should bring more clarity in the chronology.

On the foundation level a debris layer--with a large amount of building blocks, roof tiles, large mortar fragments, painted stucco fragments (red, brown), and some marble veneer (crustae) fragments--attests the destruction of the shops behind the walkway. Analysis of the pottery from this layer will help set a date for the destruction of these structures. An important discovery, however, was made when we found the shop's mortared-rubble built front wall. Between the two limestone doorposts of the wide entrance was the upper right corner of a panel with what appears to be an early Imperial Lesbian cymation (leaf and flower decoration) on a bead-and-reel. A meander surrounds the central panel, which likely referred to the shop's builder or owner. The linear characters also seem to be of a rather early Imperial date. It thus seems as if the heightened sideway of the main N-S Street, and as a result also the street itself must already have been established in this shape and with this width around the middle of the first century A.D. If that is the case for the colonnade as well, then its construction date is a century older than we thought assumed and at the same time makes it one of the earliest colonnaded streets in Anatolia.

Next week's work will involve the continuation of the excavation in this portico and the lifting of some slabs of the street to establish a date for the layout and paving of this artery. The investigation of a small, unpaved stretch along the street's eastern edge this week revealed a repaired terra-cotta water pipe 25 cm below the top of the paved surface. In the southern part of the exposed paved street surface, some slabs certainly bear testimony to a later repair. Some of them will also be lifted.

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