Excavation by the Domestic Area team on the urban mansion's northern terrace, directed by Inge Uytterhoeven and Ine Jacobs (both KULeuven), continued this week. In the eastern part of the area (see map), south of courtyard XLV, they discovered the walls and part of a vault of two unexcavated rooms (XLVII and XLVIII) north of the house's bathing complex. Their existence was already known, since doors leading to them had been found within the bath section of the house. They bring the total number of rooms thus far discovered to 48.
Last week, the team had uncovered part of the southern and eastern limit of what was probably a courtyard (room XLV, see Domestic Area, July 17-21, 2005) giving access to yet another wing of the house via a large door. Among the destruction material, they found remains of a staircase that once led up to this entrance. The purple schist steps have a maximum width of 1.17 m. The same material was used to construct staircases in rooms XLII and XXXVI, which respectively led to the reception area (see Domestic Area, July 10-14, 2005) and upper floor levels in the southern part of the house. The lower levels of the first staircase, inside the corridor leading to the vestibule of the reception area, will be exposed during the following weeks. In between the rubble and brick, the team also discovered a fragment of a thin, smooth column in a green volcanic stone speckled with black obsidian, as well as the lower part of an S-shaped white marble console that once supported the lintel of a nicely decorated door. The fragment had a double garland below and with ivy leaves flanking a central ribbon with laurel leaves on the front. Most probably the fragment once belonged to the door in the eastern part of the new courtyard leading to room XLVI, which is only partially excavated. These finds suggest that this part of the house was used by the richer occupants of the complex. The wall is very carefully built of middle-sized rubble in a mortar bed (the best mortar ever found at Sagalassos) alternating with layers of brick. The edges of doors and corners are made of pumice. This is also the case with the indented doorposts leading from the courtyard to room XLVI. The walls contain only a few reused blocks (spolia) being mainly middle to late Hellenistic cinerary urns (osteothecae). One can be seen in the south wall of the courtyard. Its weaponry decoration on the long sides dates it to the third-second century B.C. Another fragment of a similar urn--this time belonging to the end, which is usually decorated with a door, in this case a beautifully one of the Ionic type--was found inside the rubble. No floor levels have been reached thus far.
This week, the Slovenian geophysics team researched also the terrain located to the north of the present excavation area, on the other side of the road that we had built ourselves in the early 1990s in order to take cranes and tractors up to the upper city. The results confirm that the house extended beyond the road, where one of its northwest corners could be identified. The image also indicated that the north facade of the mansion was indented, not straight.