Apollo Klarios Sanctuary: August 6-10, 2006
The excavation in the sanctuary of Apollo Klarios, supervised by Ine Jacobs and assisted by Ralf Vandam (both K.U. Leuven) and Tayfun Isiklar (Dokuz Eylül University of Izmir), continued with the removal of more collapsed material inside the southern transept of the Christian basilica and above the center of the church. In this material a single coin, minted under Theodosius I in A.D. 383, was found. As the removal of all blocks required the creation of a leveled surface, the floor level will only be reached during next week's excavation.
The excavation area was literally covered with architectural fragments. Judging by the large number of column drums, the columns dividing the three naves and defining the area of the transept toward the east are more or less complete and it should be rather easy to re-erect them, once we have uncovered their bases. Also, most Ionic capitals of the Trajanic restoration phase of A.D. 103-104, which once crowned the columns, have been beautifully preserved. Because of the many architectural fragments, technical operations this week included the construction of a new platform on which to place them to the north of the church. An area of 200 m2 was covered with netting, after which it was filled with excavation soil in order to create a leveled area, which will hopefully suffice for this and next year's campaigns.
Inside the collapse material, we recovered a large amount of the church's decoration. Most of it belonged to the marble wall revetment, which consisted both of flat marble crustae and of a sham architecture. As they were present in larger quantities in the area just next to the walls and as there was still mortar attached to them, it can be assumed that they were at least still partly in situ when the church eventually collapsed, most likely during the 640s earthquake. These rather rich decorative finds in the southern arm of the transept are in striking contrast with the poor appearance of the repaired mid-Byzantine northern arm we exposed last year (see Apollo Klarios: August 21-25, 2005). Perhaps the earthquake of the seventh century had caused more damage to the north side of the building. The opposite was noticed in the Roman Baths (see Roman Baths: August 3-10, 2006). This week, we also found a fair amount of fragments of the marble chancel plates and pillars. The chancel plates were decorated with a variety of geometrical and vegetal motives, while at least one plate was adorned with a Latin cross with a small fish carved on one of its arms. Similar graffiti were discovered on some of the marble crustae, carved onto the walls by pious visitors to the martyr's shrine (see Apollo Klarios: August 21-25, 2005). There are both names of private individuals, and small crosses. Further finds included a crusta with sculptural decoration in the form of a fish (or whale?); part of a palm tree in limestone, which probably once served as support for a statue; two volutes of what seems to be a late Ionic capital, as it is very roughly carved; and finally, another miniature column in red marble, similar to the one of last week, which probably supported the altar.
Although this week no further architraves with the dedicatory inscription were found, fragments of at least three other inscriptions were discovered. One of them belonged to a large block, which is still in situ in the northwest corner of the transept, where it has been reused and was undoubtedly no longer visible to the visitors to the church and probably even covered with plaster. The text, most probably recycled from the Temple of Apollo itself, mentions a statue (agalma), which had cost at least 1000 drachmai of silver. As it is not called an eikon, it did not represent a god, but a human being. In Roman times, the value of the drachme usually equaled that of three-quarters of the denarius and eventually had the same weight of the Neronian denarius, i.e. 3.40 gr. of silver. Although the date of the inscription is uncertain, this means that the value of the statue was almost one-tenth of that of the whole restoration of the temple's colonnade and of its internal wall veneering operation of A.D. 103-104 (see Macellum: August 3-10, 2006). Most probably it refers to the cost of the statue of a victor in the Klarian games, of which the temple was the center and which from Flavian times were connected with the imperial cult, at first carried out in the same shrine. There were games consisting of running and of wrestling for adults and for children, of which the victor usually received a statue, most of the time paid by the president of the games. Recent epigraphic studies have revealed that most of the participants were usually of aristocratic origin, just like their fathers who paid for the games. The fact that someone received a silver statue must mean that he belonged to the high society of Sagalassos and probably was related to the president of the games he had won. A second larger text must belong to the same category, as the first legible line clearly mentions an "agonothetes (president and financer) of the agones (games) Klareia."
||Left, inscription with, from the second line onward, the text [drachma]s argu-/ [rias/...] cheilia (= thousand)/ [a]galma, a statue of a thousand silver drachmes. Right, agonistic inscription built into the basilica, with, in the first legible line, the text [agono]tethes agonon Kl[areion], president of the Klarian games.
This week's excavation also uncovered the upper part of the southern transept walls. This transept is built in exact symmetry to that in the north. It extends 1.30 m beyond the lateral naves of the church, and is 6.15 m wide, while its short wall is 4.75 m long. The wall of the southern transept was double faced, made of reused temple ashlars on the outside and a combination of reused architectural elements and mortared rubble on the inside. Inside the transept, the southern wall was largely built of mortared rubble, whereas its east and the west interior wall consist of large reused architectural elements. A clear effort was made to make the wall structure as regular as possible, with rows of rubble of ca. 0.20 m thick. Level changes were avoided through the insertion of smaller stones and brick fragments. This southern wall contained two beam holes, situated at about the same height as those found last year in the northern transept and indicating the existence of an upper gallery.
Judging by the number of column drums in this area, immediately north of the onset of the west wall of the southern transept, a column must have stood here, which, together with the still missing easternmost column of the southern colonnade, formed the western boundary of the transept and the east end of the southern aisle. The same situation was also found last year in the northern transept, where this corner column was completely preserved and even re-erected together with its capital (see Apollo Klarios: August 21-25, 2005). Yet, whereas a rubble wall was discovered in between both columns of the northern transept, the state of preservation in the corresponding part of the southern transept seems to have been worse (no column drums standing in situ), and its preservation further down here causes some doubts.
The southern transept was accessible from the east by means of a doorway with a width of 1.15 m, which is somewhat wider than the doorway in the same wall of the northern transept (1.08 m) we exposed last year (see Apollo Klarios: August 21-25, 2005). This door allowed people to enter during mass without disturbing it. But just like in the northern transept door, it was later, perhaps in mid-Byzantine times, when the church was rebuilt (see Apollo Klarios: August 21-25, 2005), sealed off by means of wall in tuff blocks, brick and spolia.
In addition to the church decoration, this week's excavation also recovered two stamped bricks and a few fragments of terra-cotta figurines from the higher level of the collapsed material, including a seated figure, a female head and an unidentified piece.