Suburban Survey Archaeological Survey: June 23-29, 2006
A major, if not the most important, discovery from last year was that of the Early Iron Age predecessor of Sagalassos, located on a flat hill, named Düzen Tepe (meaning "Flat Hill"). After 16 years of excavations at Sagalassos, one of the most puzzling aspects was the absence of any in situ remains predating the arrival of Alexander the Great in 333 B.C., even though his biographer, Arrian, called Sagalassos "not a small city" then. Whereas the Hellenistic remains of Sagalassos cover a mere 12.8 hectares, the part of Düzen Tepe that was intensively surveyed last year, by a team under Hannelore Vanhaverbeke, covered more than 22 hectares. This was only a smaller part of the whole site, surrounded by impressive defensive walls and dominated by the 1,782 meter-large Zencirli Tepe, which formed the acropolis of the city with a separate defense circuit. Last year's intensive surveys produced a very densely inhabited site with pottery stretching from the eighth century B.C. to Classical times, and more rarely some Hellenistic and Sagalassos red slip wares from the Imperial period. This preliminary research made it clear that this was the Ur-Sagalassos, apparently larger in size and in number of inhabitants than its Hellenistic successor. These two settlements largely form a single site, with Sagalassos located a few hundred meters higher in the same mountains. The population of the older settlement seems to have migrated to Sagalassos during the course of the fourth century B.C., perhaps due to water shortages (no springs are currently active on the site). As the new site was considerably smaller than the older one, one has to consider the possibility that another part of the population migrated some 15 kilometers to the southwest, to the urban settlement of Kepezkalesi, which during this exact period was surrounded by impressive and well-preserved walls and towers. However, not a single public building made of ashlars or brick has been found inside, suggesting that the independence of the site was very short-lived before it was incorporated into the territory of Sagalassos. Our aim was to further study and map the site of Düzen Tepe, including the use of geophysical techniques and a test excavation in collaboration with, and under the direction of, the Burdur Museum, directed by Haci Ali Ekinci and represented through his assistant Mustafe Erol Erbay.
Archaeological work usually includes some kind of "first-aid" or rescue activities. A few weeks before our arrival, new water-works in the valley below the site of Hisar, located about ten kilometers south of Sagalassos, for the nearby community of Canakli, exposed two intact ancient water supply systems several meters below the surface of the land. One, still active, was made of small stone slabs without mortar; it was followed and we found that it was carrying water for artisanal activities, including for some kilns that are supposedly present in the valley, over several hundred meters. The somewhat younger system, composed of terra-cotta pipes encased in a mortared rubble package, certainly was used to transfer drinking water. The whole system was documented and measured by our team, so that the modern construction works could continue.
During the visit to this valley, located to the northeast of the Classical to Hellenistic urban settlement and later part of Sagalassos' territory, it became clear that both the slopes and the bottom of this valley are covered by numerous settlements dating to different periods, which require further research in the future. We also established once again that in antiquity, this whole area was much more densely occupied than it is today. A nice find from the site of Hisar, now taken to the city hall of Canakli, is a limestone ostotheca , an ash and bone container. This characteristically Pisidian type of rectangular container, imitating a house or shrine with a gabled roof and a door at at least one of the small sides, probably dates to early Hellenistic times because of the fact that the pilasters are not limited to the four corners, but also subdivide the longer sides, an early prototype of the Imperial columnar sarcophagi from Dokimeion. After this rescue operation the suburban survey team could focus its research on its main goal: "Ur-Sagalassos" or Düzen Tepe.
By June 24, the survey team for the first weeks had formed: besides director Hannelore Vanhaverbeke, it included our wonderful temsilci (representative of the Ministry of Culture), Mustafa Demirel of the Antalya Museum, who had already been one of the excavation temsilcis five years ago. We were also pleased to have topographer Sabri Aydal from the same museum, and already twice the temsilci at Sagalassos. They gave the official top of the team a familiar appearance, one of the most important conditions for a successful and smooth campaign. A day later, they were joined by our Slovenian partners from Ljubljana: the geophysics team, supervised by Branko Music and including Jurij Soklic and Igor Medaric, to select areas for geophysical survey. An area of 160 by 160 meters was initially selected to be completely covered by magnetometry, within which some suitable stretches were chosen for further exploration by georadar. Later during the week, georadar exploration was extended to areas beyond the 160 by 160 meter grid. Topographers Patrick Casier and Marc Olijslagers also joined the team at Tepe Düzen to set out an accurate grid of 40 by 40 meter sectors within the 160 by 160 meter grid, which they then linked to the grid system at Sagalassos. This will allow us to plot all spatial data accurately on identical topographic maps. In the coming weeks, Sabri Bey will draw a detailed map of all surface remains, starting with the 160 x 160 meter grid. His maps can then be projected onto the geophysical mapping to enable an interpretation of the observed remains.