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July 2003-July 2010InteractiveDig Sagalassos
The north wall of corridor 2 appearing from the North
The mid-Byzantine (?) water supply system laid out against the outside of the blocked off east window of corridor 2
The lintel of the window illuminating corridor 2 from the East
View of the thus far exposed part of the Odeion from the southwest. Corridor 2 (back) can be seen just above and behind corridor 1 (forefront).

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

Odeion: July 10-13, 2006

In 2005, we began the excavation of the covered concert hall, or Odeion, of Sagalassos, which in Imperial times may have eventually replaced the Hellenistic Bouleuterion. Over three and a half weeks, we uncovered a large corridor of about ten meters by four meters (Room 1), which ended in a large vaulted entrance to the stage. The walls of this hall were of exquisitely carved ashlars, some of them still carrying the painted abbreviation of the stone carvers' names. Towards the east, the side walls of the room still stood nearly seven meters high (see Odeion, August 7-30, 2005). They were once covered by a concrete vault sloping down towards the west, where it ended in a monumental vaulted entrance opening to the stage, flattened above to create a sort of V.I.P. lounge there. A large window in the south wall provided additional light, and a vaulted passageway with a staircase inside led towards a parallel corridor through the north wall.

A sounding suggested a construction date during the first quarter of the second century A.D. The structure was damaged during the earthquake of A.D. 500, when part of the stage wall collapsed and its re-usable fluted column drums were stored against the back wall of the corridor. During the sixth century, a beaten earth floor covered the older floor sections. At some point during the second half of the sixth and the early part of the seventh century, the corridor was used for dumping the butchered refuse of cattle, which reached a height of nearly 1.5 meters!

This year, the excavations resumed under the direction of Bart De Graeve and Marc D'Haese of K.U. Leuven and Ugur Altay of Mimar Sinan Universitesi in Istanbul. Our first interest was to expand the excavation in a northerly direction towards the cavea , the auditorium with seats. This would make it possible to have a clearer picture of the exact layout of the building.

Last year, we noticed that another room was situated immediately north of Room 1, so we decided to start digging there. Soon after the start of the excavation, intact walls made of ashlars appeared. They are of almost identical workmanship as those unearthed in 2005, although not as well finished, so that we concluded that we were dealing with well preserved remains of the original structure, dated to the first quarter of the second century A.D. We called this space Room 2. It is about 2.4 meters wide and 9 meters long.

In the upper part of the east wall there is a nearly 2 meter wide opening that has a beautiful moulded frame on the outside and was blocked off with mortared rubble on the inside. The latter alteration may be related to the arrangement of a sloping water channel built against the upper part of the opening on the outside.

The opening itself seems too small to have formed a public entrance, so that most probably it was a window for the corridor. As for the water channel, it seems to have been laid on top of debris from the earthquake that destroyed Sagalassos, most probably between A.D. 642 and 645. (see Roman Baths, July 10-13, 2005). It is a stepped brick surface with mortared rubble side walls covered by tiles and brick. This, and its layout on top of earthquake debris, seems identical to features of the water supply system that was previously discovered on the lower agora a few dozen meters south. This may be a northern segment of the same supply system, which may have brought water from a fountain towards the mid-Byzantine kastron inside the shrine of the Temple for Hadrian and Antoninus Pius (see Hadrian & Antoninus Pius Sanctuary, August 1-26, 2004). If this is the case, it would date this portion of the channel to tenth, eleventh, or early twelfth century A.D.

Along the northern side of Room 2, we also uncovered a small portion of the upper part of the cavea, but unfortunately only the concrete foundation structure is preserved; the seats have all been removed.

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