The North-South Colonnaded Street: July 16-27, 2006
In the second week of the 2006 campaign, the street team finished cleaning the paved surface of the North-South Colonnaded Street. It is now exposed over a length of 45 meters and a surface of more than 400 square meters. In the third and final week of research here, excavations took place in both the east portico and in one of shops behind it. We also had a small sounding underneath the pavement, at the location of a pavement tile repair.
On either side of the street surface, the slabs are partly missing, or replaced by spoils or tile fragments. The condition of the slabs is likely related to a later water pipe installation next to the bordering walls. It is possible that the ancient workmen removed the original slabs, and instead of numbering and carefully stocking them, which would have allowed them to be put back in their original position, simply took them out and stacked them in a pile. In the process, some slabs might have been partly damaged or completely broken, which would necessitate their partial or complete replacement by whatever was at hand. In the north there are even several column bases reused as slabs, while in the south there is a clear gap between the wall and the road surface. In addition to these repairs, there are tile concentrations in the gaps between the slabs in the middle of the street surface.
In the southern part of the street, excavated this year, there is a clear difference between the slabs in the eastern half and those in the western half. The western slabs are very well preserved and still in good condition, while the eastern slabs are badly weathered and are no longer stable for walking. This is because of the different quality in stone, but it is not clear yet whether or not this is related to the two phases in street construction. In order for us to establish the chronology of the intervention work, Luke Lavan of K. U. Leuven has cleaned the cracks in the pavement. During the cleaning, he found pottery and coins. We also intend to lift some of the western slabs next season, so that we can compare the stratigraphy underneath with that established last year. A similar sounding from last year's excavation (see Colonnaded Street, July 31-August 4, 2005) provided an original construction date during the reign of Tiberius (A.D. 14-37), making it one of the oldest colonnaded pedestrian streets in the East.
||The N-S Colonnaded Street seen from the north towards the end of the third excavation week. The excavation of the tavern is seen on the lower right part of the street.
The street is bordered on either side by walls made of opus quadratum (regular rectangular courses), made of ashlars with drafted edges (see Colonnaded Street, July 10-13, 2006). In the most southern section, the wall is only preserved over one row, but it must have originally contained three of them because of the southwards slope of the street surface. The western wall was covered with foundation fill, likely a later addition. A water pipe inserted into the wall must have carried water from the shops or other structures behind the portico to the water pipe underneath the pavement.
As the Colonnaded Street was bordered by porticoes on top of the high walls, instead of only on top of a few steps, the street would have seemed much longer and more impressive than it actually was. After passing underneath the reliefs of the South Gate, visitors would be faced with a broad, bright, white avenue, directed toward the large honorific gate in the north, and after the beginning of the first century A.D., also toward the impressive Hadrianic Nymphaeum above the Lower Agora. It is remarkable that the walkway and the shops could not be entered directly from the southern part of the street, as is the case with the colonnaded street of Patara, where the walls are interrupted by staircases.
Both bordering walls contain an exedra (a rectangular recess), 0.90 meters deep, but these are not situated exactly opposite one another. Since the portico is presumed to have continued on a higher level than the roadway, it is not likely that they were intended as statuary niches, while the absolute lack of additional features makes the possibility of a street fountain impossible. In the eastern exedra, one of the slabs was absent, creating a gap of 0.70 by 0.90 meters. Instead, we encountered a hard surface, softly sloping towards the street, which probably replaced the slab as a walking level. This layer contained a large amount of archaeological finds. Analysis of these finds could provide us with a date for the late alteration to the street infrastructure. The function of these exedrae still remains uncertain. Possibly, they originally provided steps to access to the high, covered sidewalks, or perhaps they were the bases of benches for exhausted travelers.
In the covered walkway, we opened a trench of 3.5 by 5 meters, to the north of last year's trench (N-S Colonnaded Street: July 24-28, 2005). Last year, the width of the portico was established as approximately 3.50 meters, between the front of the stylobate (layer supporting the column bases of the portico) and the front wall and door of one of the shops behind it. Within this portico, we excavated 11 different levels, of which two were connected to the insertion of a water pipe against the stylobate of the street. The two top layers, situated above the probable ancient floor level, contained a large amount of roof tiles, rubble and rectangular cut limestone and tuff blocks, which are likely to have come from the collapsed roof and the back wall of the portico. As opposed to last year, the debris layer contained no fragments of painted stucco or marble veneer, nor did we find any coins in the area of the walkway. Also, almost no tesserae (mosaic tiles) were found, which disproves the theory of a mosaic floor in the walkway. As was the case last year, not a single sign of paving was recovered. The top of the foundation layers, both of original fill and the later fill, were very hard and compact, which might indicate that both were used again at a later time for the installation of a floor level, probably consisting of large pavement slabs.
At about 0.90 meters below this supposed floor level, we uncovered a second water pipe, situated about 0.2 meters deeper and clearly belonging to an earlier construction date than the one mentioned above. The older water pipe is cut into the ophiolithic rock; its green and reddish color is clearly visible in our profile. This pipe is composed of segments 0.54 meters long, with a diameter between 0.13 and 0.14 meters, while the segments of the later pipe are 0.35 meter long, with a diameter between 0.10 and 0.13 meters. The older water pipe has six openings at more or less regular intervals on its upper surface. One hole was obviously repaired, as it was closed by two brick fragments set in mortar. The presence of such openings goes back to Archaic times. The holes were cut on purpose and usually closed off with terra-cotta fragments. Their function was twofold. First, they allowed for a cleaning of the interior of the pipes when dirt blocked the normal water flow. Secondly, if the pressure inside the pipes was too high, the pressure would lift up the lid, allowing some water to escape, and thus preventing the pipes from bursting.
The back wall of the portico, which was partly excavated last year (see N-S Colonnaded Street, July 24-28, 2005), was further uncovered over 5 meters. It is composed of mortared rubble and some bricks, and includes a few reused ashlars. It is only preserved to a height of 0.90 meters. It had a door opening 0.80 meters wide, as wide as the door opening uncovered last year. However, a doorsill is missing. A second opening became visible in the northern extremity of the trench, but it has not yet been established what its function was. In the sector north of the present one, another doorframe, again consisting of two limestone blocks, is visible just above ground.
These doors led to one or more shops or workshops behind the back wall of the portico. As we did not uncover any interior walls, it cannot be said how large the spaces behind the portico were and whether or not every door should be assigned to a separate unit. The collapse layer in this area contained the same material as that of the area east of the portico's back wall, including a large amount of tiles and some regularly shaped tuff blocks, but it was much thicker here. Its lower levels contained a large amount of finds, including a very large dolium (large terra-cotta container) sherd. As was the case in the portico, the floor of the shop was missing and the collapse layer was situated directly on top of the floor substrate. On top of the floor substrate, we found the remains of an L-shaped structure in mortared rubble. Its southern corner consisted of a reused ostheoteca (a rectangular house-shaped ash urn), decorated with a rosette inside a circle on one side and a door on the opposite side. It probably functioned as a counter that a shopkeeper could stand behind to sell his wares. Such counters have also been found in the thermopolium (food and beverage stand) to the east of the Lower Agora, and at many other sites, such as Sardis, Pompeii, Herculaneum, and Ostia. Together with the large amount of open ceramic forms, intended for drinking and eating, it is likely that the shops functioned as a taberna, selling food and drinks.
The recently retrieved floor substrate contained a large amount of ceramics, which were dated between the second quarter and the end of the first century A.D., confirming the date of street's construction in the reign of Tiberius. Last week, it was strongly suggested that the main street of Sagalassos was planned from the beginning as a wide processional road leading to the Shrine of Apollo Klarios, with porticoes on either sides, situated on top of platforms. Now, we have physical evidence for this early building program.
The ceramics inside the floor substrate also contained a few sherds of imported amphorae. Until this time, no trace of the presence of amphorae in the first century A.D. had been found. This was rather surprising; after the construction of the Via Sebaste (6 B.C.), which linked the city's territory to the Pamphylian ports, the road was used for exporting Sagalassos red slip wares to Egypt, Carthage and Italy. Consequently, one might expect the import of oil and wine from those areas in return. As the results from this sounding behind the portico wall are very promising, further research in the shops will be planned for future campaigns.
One of the most remarkable finds on top of the pavement was a small figurine of a cow, found in the foundation trench of the water pipe. On top of the street pavement, we also found part of a late and rudely executed panel (0.20 meters high) with an incision of a chalice with garlands. Not surprisingly, the most remarkable finds of this week's excavation were found inside the shops, just above the floor substrate, including a finely worked bead in bone. The floor substrate itself contained a small blue bead.