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July 2003-July 2010InteractiveDig Sagalassos
View of the eastern part of the Roman Baths with the ongoing excavation in the left part of the picture
The "northern six-piered hall" with frigidarium 2 in the background
View of the excavation in frigidarium 2. The small pool discovered in previous years is visible on the right. Pumice covers the well-preserved mosaic floor.

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

Roman Baths: July 31-August 4, 2005

The RB1 team continued removing the rubble from on top of the "northern six-piered hall." At the moment, they have descended to a level about 1.60 m above the floor, with another 180 m3 of rubble still to be removed. At a pace of 60 to 70 m3 a week, they should be able to uncover the surface of the floor during the three remaining weeks of the excavation. Two extra workmen will join the RB teams to guarantee that the aims can be met. The usual pottery sherds, animal bone, metal clamps, and nails were retrieved from the debris. The find of the week here was a remarkably well preserved Corinthian corner pilaster capital that once belonged to a wall's marble revetment. Made of white Docimian (Afyon) marble, it was found at about 1.60 m above floor level, in the middle of a destruction layer. This is yet another confirmation of the thesis that the Roman Baths collapsed in several phases, perhaps over a span of centuries. However, remarkably very few crustae are found, far less than the huge amounts found during the past years in the northern frigidarium (F2) and apodyterium (dressing room). Together with hammered-in clamps found in situ on the hall's large limestone pillars and the amounts of white plaster still attached to them, this seems to suggest that at one point the hall was stripped of its marble veneer. The clamps were either removed or hammered in, and the piers were covered with plaster. Some plaster sections covered new mason's signatures painted on the blocks, which they had completed (see Roman Baths, July 24-28, 2005). We also uncovered two brick walls, one already collapsed the other badly preserved. It might be possible that we'll have to take it down for safety reasons, as the team will have to excavate underneath it. These walls will be fully documented, measured, and drawn.

The RB2 team, working among the four huge ashlar piers in the central part of frigidarium 1, reached a level of 0.80 m above the original floor in the northwestern part of the trench. However, before uncovering the final layers, they have to reach the same level over a wider area. They are working their way through a destruction layer that can be clearly associated with the collapse of the vaults: roof tiles, tuff blocks (a light volcanic stone mainly used in roof constructions) and broken vault parts of mortared limestone and brick. Along the piers, they could discern a different layer, as the fallen plaster and mortar piled up to form a thick deposit. From this layer many mosaic tesserae and a stucco fragment were retrieved, originating from the decorative designs that once embellished the room. All tesserae were found loose in this layer, except for one small patch of mosaic that could give us an idea of how the original decoration looked. More and possibly larger fragments may appear during the following weeks. Now that most of the fallen ashlars from the piers have been removed from both excavated spaces, their gigantic size becomes more evident every day.

[image]Plan of the Roman Baths with the location of the current excavation (see rectangles)
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