Macellum: July 8-12, 2007
The third excavation campaign at the Macellum (food market) of Sagalassos resumed this week under the direction of Julian Richard (K.U.Leuven, Belgium), assisted by Flrat Kesim (Istanbul Technical University) and Marijke Van Looy (K.U.Leuven, Belgium). We decided to focus first on the southern extremity of the Macellum's western portico.
The 2006 campaign had exposed about two thirds of portico's total length, the shops located behind it and about a fourth of the total surface area of the central courtyard. During this first week, we excavated one sector and a half. In this area, we could further trace the remains of the Byzantine water channel running through the portico, whose northern section was discovered last year. Built over a thick layer dumped into the portico, it consists of a squarish channel built of carefully coated tiles and covered by a course of re-used rubble stones. It could also be traced in several other places further south in the city center, such as in the Odeion and along the western flank of the Roman Baths. Its point of origin was located on the Upper Agora, where an identical water channel was exposed during the first years of the excavations there. There as well, this channel was visible above ground and separated by a layer of debris from the still present pavement slabs of the square. Its direction, however, was not north-south, but east-west. Therefore it looks as if the water was captured somewhere along the west side of the Upper Agora, possibly even coming from the mountains beyond the city walls, where in late Roman times even melting snow was directed towards the Upper Agora by a very much related supply system.
Immediately beside the late water channel, we found some remains of the portico's back wall, although they are in a much worse condition than the northern section of the wall, which contained blocked door and window openings framed by carefully re-carved door jambs (made out of columns) and vertical quadrangular piers. The southern section of this wall found this week is ca. 2.5 m long and consists of mortared rubble. In the course of next week we will investigate what we think to be a door opening. If it proves so, it would confirm the hypothesis of the presence of an additional shop at the southwest edge of the complex, just to the south of Room 4. This area will be the main focus of next week's excavations.
As for the finds collected during this week, we noticed the presence in the collapse layers of a large quantity of ceramics and faunal remains. A preliminary examination of the pottery pointed towards a late dating, i.e. in the sixth and first half of the seventh century A.D. (phases 8 and 9 of SRSW). Among the most remarkable finds of these weeks were several fragments of oinophoroi bearing figural decoration (depictions of a dog and of a woman playing a musical instrument) and two hairpins carefully carved in bone. The faunal remains will be examined in more detail by the archaeozoologists.
Besides the excavation proper, we also started the registration of the large amount of architectural remains once composing the south portico, with the help of the team of architects directed by Ebru Torun (K.U. Leuven) and led by Els Arnauts. A large amount of architectural members are lying immediately to the south of the central courtyard and on the slope between the Macellum and the Odeion. Among the recorded stones we could notice several blocks belonging to the floor of the courtyard, some architraves--two of them bearing a part of the Macellum's dedicatory inscription--and a large amount of nicely carved cornices. The registration work should continue during the next few weeks and help to reconstruct the original layout of this portico once opening on the beautiful scenery offered by the lower city.