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July 2003-July 2010InteractiveDig Sagalassos
Getting ready for surveying at Sarikaya in the front one of the ancient structures near the quarry face
The map of Düzen Tepe produced by Sabri Aydal with in brown the city walls, in red the mapped buildings with walls visible at the surface (only part of the site being completed) and in black the buildings revealed through geomagnetism by the Slovenian team.
The remains of a very large dolium (large jar) found in Basköy
View of the guard post at Findikli Tas

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

Suburban Archaeological Survey: July 10-27, 2006

During the first day of the intensive archaeological survey at Düzen Tepe, the "Ur-Sagalassos," work began with a day of soil sampling on several locations, while topographer Sabri Aydal from the Antalya Museum, aided by Hannelore Vanhaverbeke, continued mapping the surface remains. More than 1,500 points were measured. The soil samples will be studied in Belgium to determine ancient pollution patterns related to occupational or artisanal activities. Samples were taken from both the center of the settlement and along its edges.

The next day, senior surveyor Ben Rubin of the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, joined the Leuven students--Kim Vyncke, Marie Lefere, Marc Mechelmans, Sarah Linten, Tom Coenegrachts, Jonas Danckers, Federica Bono, Brecht Lambrechts, Marijke Van Looy and Laura Verheyden. Further soil sampling was undertaken at Düzen and a survey grid for detailed prospection was set out on the promontory west of Düzen Tepe, where a reconnaissance survey last year documented the presence of pottery and structures similar to those at Düzen Tepe. This area was now studied more systematically and in more detail. We confirmed the extension of the settlement at Düzen Tepe to this promontory. The structures were aligned along the same NW-SE axis (most probably imposed by the Zincirli Tepe).

One of the valleys leading from the plain of Aglasun to Düzen Tepe was also explored, as we assumed that one of the main accesses to the site was located there. After a difficult descent, our efforts were rewarded with the discovery of a small structure, with an apsidal back wall, erected in dry rubble, in the same technique as the other structures at Düzen. Next week, a few days will be spent exploring the outer reaches of the settlement, which must have covered over 30 hectares. This is nearly three times the size of the settlement's successor: the Hellenistic city located at the current site of Sagalassos.

During the last two days of the week, the archaeological team joined Patrick Degryse and his colleagues from Quarryscapes to pay a visit to the stone quarry at Sarikaya. Reconnaissance surveys in 1994 dated the quarry's activities to the early Roman period at the latest, and the limestone from this quarry was used to build some of the Late Hellenistic-Augustan buildings at Sagalassos. A more in-depth study this year suggested that it was no longer used after Hellenistic times (see Geological Survey: July 12-13, 2006)

The area south of the quarry face was surveyed. Some structures (field stones bound by mortar, tiles) were located just in front of the quarry, and pottery was collected for further study. These structures probably postdate the activities in the quarry since their location seems to prevent easy access to the quarry face.

The area further south of the quarry was also surveyed, but yielded almost no finds, since it is covered by recent colluvium, which would have buried all ancient features. However, in a robbers' trench and the spoil heap next to it, an extremely high number of sherds were collected, nearly all sigillata, as well as some metal artifacts. Chunks of mortar were interspersed with brick fragments, indicating the presence of a structure. The profile of the robbers' trench was sketched in detail since it may provide some clues for dating the remains of a wall found in situ. The study of the pottery will clarify whether this is a primary deposit or a dump.

The second week saw the continuation of intensive archaeological surveys at Düzen Tepe, near the Sarikaya stone quarry and the site of Körüstan, to the west of Düzen Tepe.

At Düzen Tepe, the westernmost reaches of the settlement were surveyed. One survey tried to trace the former access ways to the site. Düzen was mainly accessible from the south; the northern border of the settlement was blocked by Zincirli Tepe. Four valleys lead from the plains of Basköy and Aglasun northward to Düzen. Three of these valleys were explored on foot. While the two westernmost valleys did not yield firm evidence for use in the Early Iron Age (scarce pottery, old terrace walls), the easternmost access to the site seems to have been guarded by a small structure of dry rubble.

Further exploration on the western lower reaches of Zincirli Tepe (1,784 meters), the presence of the Düzen Tepe acropolis confirmed our hypothesis that the settlement at Düzen extended as far as this place, bringing the total extent of the settlement to ca. 120 hectares. An expanse of this size is huge for an Early Iron Age site. Thus, it seems that not all 120 hectares were occupied simultaneously.

Later in the week, the survey team moved its activities from the quarry at Sarikaya to nearby Körüstan, where reconnaissance surveys in 1994 led to the identification of a Roman village. We assumed that this village housed the quarry workforce. An area of ca. 4.5 hectares was explored in detail. A large amount of pottery--both fine and coarse wares--was collected, while several traces of ancient construction in dry rubble were noticed. The area also yielded further evidence for quarrying: trenches cut in the limestone to separate the blocks to be extracted laterally, and half-finished prefabricates (Halbfabrikaten) of sarcophagus lids and coffins. There was also a counterweight for an olive press. After his initial glance at the pottery, Jeroen Poblome provided a preliminary date for occupation at this site during the late Late Hellenistic to Early Byzantine period. Körüstan was thus not only occupied during the period in which the quarry at Sarikaya was exploited, but continued to be used after it had been abandoned, most probably serving as a settlement for farmers using the fertile valley below. The extent of the settlement and the lack of any luxury items confirm the site's earlier identification as a provincial village. The discovery of the unfinished sarcophagi and the counterweight lends support to our hypothesis that the people living in this settlement were involved in quarry activities and olive cultivation. The presence of the sarcophagi further suggests that limestone from the area, if not from Sarikaya itself, was exploited as late as the second century A.D.when sarcophagi became common in the area.

The last week of July was also the last week of the suburban survey. The team worked for another two days at Düzen Tepe, mapping the structures and sampling artifacts in the northwestern area of the settlement. We also checked the fourth possible access to the site. Although pottery was virtually absent, a boulder wall with a small structure attached to it appears to guard this entrance to the site. The impressive defensive system of the site can now be described in its totality. As for the internal organization of Tepe Düzen and its material culture, test soundings will start next week.

During this week, the survey team also made an exploratory trip to the hills bordering the plain of Basköy to the south. We were guided by information from a Basköy local. This brought us to a farmer's house in whose backyard (and built into his patio) were found the remains of a very large dolium (large jar), which, according to the farmer, had contained the bones of a child. The dolium was loaded into the survey minivan for further study. Preliminary dating by Jeroen Poblome suggests it is of pre-Roman origin.

Provided with information on another possible site, we ventured on to Findikli Tas (Basköy), where a small guard post was found, partly carved in the rock, partly built in large boulders and offering a spectacular view of the plains of Aglasun and Basköy, and Tepe Düzen. Pottery was collected for further study. While the guard post seems to be pre-Hellenistic or Hellenistic in date, the pottery is Roman.

The survey ended with another round of soil sampling at the two villa sites, where geophysical surveys were undertaken. On Thursday, the survey team was handed over to Jeroen Poblome, who will introduce them to the processing of surface ceramics. Meanwhile, Sabri Bey and Hannelore Vanhaverbeke continued their mapping and checking of measured points at Tepe Düzen. The area of test sounding was set out on the site, ready for work on Sunday.

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