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July 2003-July 2010InteractiveDig Sagalassos
Ugur with one of his laser theodolites
Every single block inside the basilica on the spot of the former Apollo Klarios Temple is being recorded by the architects before its removal.
Part of the building inscription of the Trajanic repair of the Apollo Klarios Temple in A.D. 103-104 is being squeezed by Ahmet Satilmis.

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

Recording: July 30-August 3

During an excavation, the correct finding spots of each archaeological item, as well as their exact location toward the architectural features, have to be recorded for any further study (see Recording 2006). A team of topographers (Sarah Ceuppens, Sarah Vannieuwenburg and Jeroen Verhaegen of De Naeyer Institute) and architects (Bahar Ezmek, Esra Okur, Serap Coban, Ceylin Karbeyaz, Gulcan Saygili, Gulsah Celik, Aysem Kilinc, Canan Kardes, and Serdar Saygi), both supervised by Ugur Gursoy, recorded all of the wall structures and building elements that emerged throughout the excavations. Then, they photographed, numbered, and removed them manually or with the crane. In the meantime, others constantly measured the exact location of the loci and their levels following our new recording system (see Recording 2006). Whereas in previous years, it was common to see topographers bent under the weight of their laser theodolites and their tripods walking from place to place, this year Ugur found two spots from where he could measure almost any point in all the ongoing projects. These spots became permanent standing points for our theodolites, considerably reducing the burden on the topographers and allowing them to rest a bit in between measurements.

Another type of ongoing recording is that of the inscriptions, which after years of exposure are sometimes so weathered that they become totally illegible. Therefore special paper and brushes are used to produce paper copies of the surface, called "squeezes." The team has two such brushes, which are carefully stored away in a bedroom, ever since the year one of them disappeared for weeks before turning up among the cleaning equipment. The technique is rather simple: the inscribed surface is cleaned and wetted, after which the paper is applied, cut in strips fitting the exact dimensions of the inscription. These strips are first gently brushed with a small brush soaked with water, so that they stick to the stone's surface. Then the squeeze brush is used to beat them strongly and as vertical as possible, pressing the wet squeeze paper onto the surface and into the characters. If applied well, the strokes of paper can be tied to the surface with a thin rope, so that they do not fly away with the wind, which dries them within an hour or even less. Upon drying, the paper becomes hard again and after its removal it represents a perfect relief copy of the surface and the inscription. The inscription is especially visible on the back side of the paper, which can be photographed in lab conditions with a shearing light, exposing all characters in sharp relief. This process produces a perfect "negative" of the text, which afterwards can be turned into a perfectly legible positive by photographic print. M. Waelkens has made hundreds of squeezes of even the smallest fragments and individual characters over the last fifteen years, but recently his back troubles turned even this activity in a painful nightmare. His attentive and bright Turkish driver, guardian angel, and jack-of-all-trades, the electrician Ahmet Satilmis (who is one of twin brothers who have worked for years on the dig) has mastered the technique perfectly from observation and now produces almost all of the season's squeezes.

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