Home | Archaeology Magazine | More Digs | AIA
Archaeology's Interactive Dig
July 2003-July 2010InteractiveDig Sagalassos
The survey team near the circuit walls of Tepe Düzen
The defense wall of the site above the valley of Basköy

The upper circle indicates the fortress located on top of the Zencirlik Tepe, the lower one the large fortification in the southwestern part of the site. The arrow indicates a concentration of structures. (© DigitalGlobe, Inc.)

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

Suburban Survey: July 31-August 4, 2005

This week the survey team under H. Vanhaverbeke continued its detailed prospection at Tepe Düzen, covering another 8.5 hectares. We moved farther west over the plateau, recording numerous remains of buildings erected on fieldstone socles (no mortar, no tiles, burnt mud-brick fragments), which supports our initial impression that we are dealing here not with a village but with an extensive, densely built settlement. Gradually moving northwest, up the lower slopes of the Zencirli Tepe, we noticed more elaborate structures, consisting of several rooms. A number of small constructions in huge boulders, all at approximately equal height on the slopes, may be indicative of a belt of defenses below the wall encircling the top of the Zencirli (see report July 24-28, 2005). The northwestern lower reaches of the plateau yielded--for the first time--some Sagalassos red slip ware sherds (early Imperial to early Byzantine period) and possible tile fragments as well as some ashlars. Apparently a limited area of the plateau was also used to some extent in Roman times.

At the plateau's southwestern edge, we discovered an impressive defensive work, of which we recorded similar fragments farther east (see report July 24-28, 2005), though in a more eroded state. The defensive structure consists of a 1.60 m thick wall of huge limestone boulders on the crest of the plateau. It runs for at least 150 m. Extending perpendicular from it are at least four more walls going down slope, some of which can be followed over a distance of ca. 100 m. The dense vegetation of prickly dwarf oaks on the slopes makes it extremely difficult to explore the area, but it appears that a second, less impressive wall runs parallel to the main wall, thus connecting the four perpendicular ones. This elaborate defense system, which must have required a huge input of manpower, further supports the special status of this settlement and clearly warrants labeling the site at Tepe Düzen as a major center, even a city.

The near total absence of Hellenistic and Imperial pottery or other remains points to a date before or after this period. The defense walls, however, exclude a post-Roman date, so the site must be pre-Hellenistic. Yet, the absence of painted pottery such as the Southwest Anatolian wares and other pottery types characteristic of the later Early Iron Age, suggest an older date for the settlement, as do the megaron-type houses, reminiscent of some eighth century B.C. and older sites. Unfortunately, the rather abundant pottery is mostly very coarse and not diagnostic. Next week, we expect a visit by Mehmet Özsayit, a specialist of pre- and protohistorical pottery in the area. At the moment, however, it seems certain that this is the "oldest Sagalassos." Why at some point in the past people moved from the old site, some four km southwest and in clear view of the current site, may be connected with the fact that the former was dependent on cisterns for its water supply, whereas the latter had abundant springs in and near it. A growing population may ultimately have made this change of settlement a necessity.

Previous pageNext page

InteractiveDig is produced by ARCHAEOLOGY Magazine
© 2010 Archaeological Institute of America

Home | Archaeology Magazine | More Digs | AIA