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July 2003-July 2010InteractiveDig Sagalassos
White limestone quarries in the Yarlsll area
Stepped extraction in the quarry near Düger provided Sagalassos with the white recrystallized limestone that was extensively used in the city's Imperial architecture.
Elisabeth Boxham next to one of the abandoned entablature pieces in a limestone quarry on the north side of the Aglasun Mountains.

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

Geological Survey: July 10-14, 2005

The Stone Quarry Survey

Different types of natural building stones have been identified in the monumental architecture of Sagalassos. They include marble, limestone, travertine, and granite of different qualities. Most of the building stone is local, from the immediate area of the city and in its territory, but some stone types (like marble and granite) were clearly imported from a considerable distance. This year, our survey for stone quarries in the territory of Sagalassos aims to identify the ancient areas of extraction of beige, pink, and white limestone. The study of the Sagalassos quarry landscape (the "industrial" landscape dominated by one or several interconnected quarry sites) is also part of the international EU QuarryScapes Project to develop theoretical and practical methods contributing to the conservation of such landscapes. The Sagalassos Project (work by Marc Waelkens and Patrick Degryse, KULeuven) has already yielded extensive information about the architectural heritage and the use of stone in the monumental city. This is now taken further--in cooperation with Tom Heldal (Norwegian Geological Survey), Elizabeth Bloxam (University College London), and Per Storemyr (ETH Zürich)--by establishing the relationship between the various periods of construction in the town and the use of stone from the surrounding landscape. One of the first results of this year's study was the identification in the Düger area (25 km to the south of Sagalassos) of the first ancient quarry that provided the city with the white recrystallized limestone that was extensively used in the architecture of the first to the second century A.D. The quarry is located just outside the southwestern border of the city's territory that was formed by the Via Sebaste near Düer. It must have been part of the Imperial estate located to the west of this road, which contained centers at Tymbrianassos and at Takina (in the Yarlsll area) farther south. A modern quarry is now gradually destroying the ancient one, leaving very little traces of the latter. Also, in a quarry nearby the Potters' Quarter of Sagalassos, spoil heaps (quarrying waste) were recognized, leaving the opportunity to study the lay out of a quarry workshop there. Furthermore, a detailed description and sampling of beige and pink limestone was made of quarries at Barky, Starkey, and on the north slopes of the Alison Mountains, where several roughed out pieces of entablature and some sarcophagus coffins were abandoned. These samples will be analysed in the laboratory to correlate them to the stone used at Sagalassos.

The Clay Prospecting Survey

As the geological circumstances were favorable, large clay deposits developed in what was later the Potters' Quarter of Sagalassos. This clay was used for the production of many types of ceramics used in the city and it's territory. However, apart from the known import of clay from the valley of Çanakll (7 km south of Sagalassos) to the Potters' Quarter for the mass production of fine table wares from Augustan times onward (Sagalassos red slip ware), no information is available on possible other locations of clay extraction and pottery production. Therefore, we will look this year for other possible clay exploitation and pottery production zones. Clay bodies from the area of Hisar, Çanakll and Düger were sampled. These will be analyzed to compare their characteristics to those of ceramic types (fabrics) found in the territory of Sagalassos. In this way, we can investigate the use of regionally available clay resources in the production of ceramics through time in the territory.

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