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July 2003-July 2010InteractiveDig Sagalassos
Building blocks of the central tholos before the start of the excavations
Removing large ashlars beyond the reach of the crane in the old-fashioned way
Julian Richard uncovers the first (?) of a series of dolium lids in the wedge-shaped storage room behind the Macellum's west wall.

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

Macellum: July 17-21, 2005

Our first exploration of the Macellum (food market) of Sagalassos started this week under the direction of Julian Richard, Peter Talloen (KULeuven), and Mustafa Kiremitci (University of Izmir). The remains of the building are located near the Upper Agora's southeast corner (see Introduction). A hypothetical reconstruction of the Macellum was first made by Cl. De Ruyt (Namur). She proposed a rectangular structure (ca. 40 by 45 m) surrounded on all sides by rows of shops preceded by a portico. In her reconstruction she suggested the presence of 11 shops on the west and north sides and 10 each on the other sides, where she proposed an entrance replaced the central shop. The courtyard's center was occupied by a circular building or tholos with eight columns and a diameter of 7.30 m. Its remains are particularly well preserved. During the Pisidia Survey in 1986, M. Waelkens established several corrections to this reconstruction. The Macellum did not have any shops on the south, offering a magnificent view of the lower city and the valley below it. The central tholos with a diameter of ca. 6.35 m was placed in the middle of a paved square with sides at least 21 m long. The width of the colonnade around it was about 4.75 m, and the depth of the shops behind it at the west and east was at least ca. 4.60 m. The central tholos was composed of low pedestals supporting smooth columns. The presence of a corner capital of composite order (a mixture of Corinthian and Ionic) suggests composite capitals for the tholos as well. The rounded entablature is composed of an architrave crowned by a small curved frieze decorated with fluted "tongues" (Pfeifenfries). Topographical conditions suggest it is more likely that the entrance was located on the north side. The number of shops seems to have been less than 11 on each side.

The first job this week was the clearance of the abundant vegetation growing on the spot. This rendered numerous architectural fragments still lying in the area more visible, testifying to a rather good preservation of the structural elements belonging to the Macellum, especially on its west side. A team of architects is recording all stones visible at the surface and will accompany the archaeologists throughout the excavation in order to document the architectural layout of the structure as precisely as possible. While the architects' recording operations cover the entire Macellum area, the excavations will focus on the building's western half, more precisely in the zone between the southwestern corner of the edifice and the central tholos, including the row of shops, the portico and part of the courtyard. The terrain is sloping in such a way that at the west parts of the structure still seem to stand up to a height of approximately 2.50 m. At that level, excavation of two sectors has already exposed the back wall of one shop. This wall is about 1 m from the Upper Agora's southern terrace wall. The wedge-shaped space between the two structures, resulting from their different orientation, was filled up with concrete. Immediately below the terrace wall belonging to the south portico (?) of the square, we found a large lid with a handle. As far as the shop is concerned, a pair of doorjambs in situ allowed us to establish real the depth of the shop at 4.80 m.

Toward the week's end, we had to deal with several large ashlars from the terrace wall of the Upper Agora's south portico. These had fallen into the Macellum area and had to be removed in the old-fashioned way, using wooden rollers, ropes, and human force.

[image]View of the Macellum, the partially exposed earthen surface on the top of the slope, toward the end of the week

During the next weeks, we will expose more shops of the Macellum's western wing. The depth of the debris layers suggests a rather good preservation of the structure and of the floor level of the shops. This should provide us with substantial evidence for contextual analysis (ceramics, metal, glass, faunal and botanical remains), and help us identify the goods sold at the Macellum and understand its layout, building phases, and evolution through time.

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