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July 2003-July 2010InteractiveDig Sagalassos
The remains of Basilica F after cleaning the surface, seen from the north
The steep hill with the remains of Basilica C (center)
The western facade of Basilica C

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

Architectural Survey of the Churches: July 10-14, 2005

Within the framework of the postdoctoral research of Peter Talloen (KULeuven), which focuses on the Christianization of Pisidia, we planned a survey of the churches in the western part of the city. The intensive survey of 2001 carried out by Femke Martens in that area had brought to light two churches, besides the two that were already noted there by nineteenth-century travelers. This year, we selected three of those four buildings, tentatively dated to the fifth/sixth centuries A.D., for closer scrutiny. Two of them (basilicas F and C) will be the subjects of ground-truthing research, whereas test trenches are planned inside and outside the basilica built on the spot of the previous Temple of Apollo Klarios and the Flavian imperial family. This week, Peter Talloen and Julian Richard (both KULeuven) almost completed the work on the first two churches.

The first, a church discovered recently by the intensive archaeological survey and designated Basilica F, is located just north of the main east-west colonnaded street. This northwest-southeast orientated rectangular building was identified as a tripartite basilica on the basis of its columns, Ionic impost capitals and an octagonal ambon plate with radial decoration. It contains a narthex and probably also an atrium. The latter was paved among other things by slabs containing reused entablature pieces of a monument dedicated to the emperor Claudius by Ti.Claudius Dareius and his sons, including Ti.Claudius Piso, the first Roman knight of Sagalassos.

The ambon plate of Basilica F

Situated outside the city, on a small flat hill north of the ancient road leading to Sagalassos and surrounded by a necropolis, are the remains of a second church, designated Basilica C by Count Lanckoroski, who surveyed the site in the late nineteenth century. The building appears to be of the same general type as the others known at Sagalassos, namely a tripartite basilica, as indicated by the presence of three doors in its west wall, of which the main doorway is still standing.

As neither of these churches had ever been properly documented before, the first aim of our architectural survey was to reconstruct a plan of them. Furthermore, we hope this examination will provide indications for the history of the buildings. Dating the founding of the individual churches will allow us establishing the pace of the Christianization process that took place within the city in Late Antiquity. Finally, the identification of their size, embellishment, and general shape will perhaps allow us to link the buildings to a specific liturgical function.

During the first week, we cleaned both churches of plants and rubble. By clearing the vegetation inside and around the church sites (comprising ca. 880 and 400 m2) and removing all non-architectural elements, the remains of the buildings present at the surface were made more visible. This exposure will allow us to measure these remains with a total station later on, to be plotted on the city-map and to serve as a basis for the reconstruction of their plans, and possibly their elevations. Furthermore, all decorated building elements that have come to light will be photographed and described separately, allowing us to date the churches more accurately. Finally, further indications concerning their function and history may be retrieved through the collection of surface material.

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