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July 2003-July 2010InteractiveDig Sagalassos
Our frail looking depot guys, from left to right Tom (before his departure), Frank, Erwin and half-hidden newcomer Roel

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

Depot Management: August 14-18, 2005

In every archaeological campaign, sites come and go. One season they might yield an excess of finds, the season after they might have run dry. There's only one facility, only one team that can count on annual growth and that's the depot team. With six excavations to handle, two surveys, and nine disciplines requiring the depot's constant care, the three guys that manage the depot at Sagalassos are a testimony to mankind's endurance and stamina. With finds accumulating every day and space running out quickly, Erwin Nies, Frank Carpentier and our newest asset Roel Bylemans are relying on their acclaimed ingenuity to shift finds in the most efficient manner. After the arrivals of new racks in Depot 1, the excavation house saw some of the hardest labor witnessed there thus far. Heavy architectural fragments, sculptural fragments, numerous crates full of tesserae, all were carried off and on by these rather frail looking boys.

The new racks did maximize the capacity of the depot, where before only the floor had been in use. More refurbishing is on the way as Depot 13 is next on the list for an overhaul. Here the racks will be adapted to house both the molds for casting the dancing girl frieze of the NW Heroon and the divine busts decorating the Trajanic street fountain, as well as the mosaics lifted from room XVII in the palatial mansion of the Domestic Area. Once stored there, this will open up a significant amount of space in the stone depots. This does come at the right moment, as the conservation lab managed to reassemble several large dolia (storage jars) from room 2 behind the Macellum, thus provoking a real storage crisis. They are the very nightmare of a depot manager. But this problem has been solved as during one weekend day, and continuing until the very late hours of the night, the depot crew managed to empty depot 13, install tailor-made metal racks for molds and mosaic panels, and rearrange all pottery boxes inside. The Turkish expression gecmis olsun (may it pass quickly) could never be used for a more appropriate occasion.

This was also the first week without Tom. While he might have succumbed to the excruciating demands a depot manager has to meet, his legacy lives on.

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