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Southern extremity of the Macellum's west portico
The south wall of the west portico
The crane removing pieces of the entablature of the south portico
Original architrave (ca. A.D. 180-191) of the Macellum
Later architrave with the name of Philippos Amynonos
Crane removing pieces of the entablature of the tholos

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

Macellum: July 15-26, 2007

Excavations of the Macellum continued over the last two weeks, under the direction of Julian Richard (KULeuven, Belgium), Firat Kesim (Istanbul Technical University), and Marijke Van Looy (KULeuven, Belgium).

We focused on the southwestern edge of the Macellum complex, which was left unexcavated last year. Almost three sectors were excavated, and these are located south of Rooms 3 and 4 (the two rooms discovered in 2006) and in the southern part of the portico bordering the central courtyard to the west. We began with a ca. 1.7 m deep dump accumulation to the south of Room 3, which was found under a thick layer of collapsed debris that flowed south from the area of Rooms 3 and 4. The very dark matrix yielded a large amount of finds reflecting the variety of goods once present in the commercial complex. We especially noticed the presence of some well-preserved ceramic vessels, such as a crater, shallow bowls and plates, and a large quantity of faunal remains. Some metal artifacts recall the finds of the two last excavation campaigns: locks, a well-preserved iron key, a knife, hooks, and chains. As far as glass is concerned, a very specific concentration of windowpane fragments was found in the deposit, just underneath the two windows opening in the south wall of Room 3 (see 2006). In the same deposit, we also unearthed a ca. 0.65 m high limestone half-column, clearly the western post of a window (the roughly carved lower two thirds were joining the wall, but the upper part was freestanding!). The presence of the window panes and post could indicate that the windows collapsed southward and that a part of the dump material could have been thrown through them before the final collapse of the building. Further quantification of the glass should provide us with more information.


Late seventh century A.D. lamp from the west portico of the Macellum

A second area we explored during the two last weeks is the southern section of the Macellum's west portico. Most of it could be documented in 2006, and part of the Corinthian colonnade was the object of a partial anastylosis at the end of the last campaign. We unearthed the southern part of the portico's two-stepped krepis (stepped stylobate), composed of large limestone ashlars. In front of it was a gutter whose main purpose was to evacuate water falling from the roof of the portico (width: ca. 0.3 m; depth: ca. 0.05 m). In the portico itself, we could identify two encroachment walls built of rubble stones and a small room at the back, now designated called Room 5. It is roughly trapezoidal in shape and limited by carefully built walls of rubble masonry. The occupation layers yielded a large amount of ceramic sherds, large fragments of animal bone, and a smaller amount of metal and glass artefacts. Among the most remarkable finds, a completely preserved late seventh-century terracotta oil lamp. This find is remarkable as it dates to more than half a century after the major earthquake of A.D. 690-720, which previously was believed to have put an end to all occupation in the town.

While we were excavating, the registration and removal of architectural fragments from the central courtyard and the south portico went on, with the help of the team of architects directed by Ebru Torun (KULeuven) and led by Els Arnauts, together with two of the three cranes operating on the site. The major part of the architectural fragments lying in the middle of the courtyard and to the south of the Macellum complex were registered and removed. Most of them were curved entablature pieces originating from the central tholos (an open columnar structure) and the remnants of the portico bordering the courtyard to the south. The absence of column shafts and capitals is particularly striking, so they must have been reused elsewhere. Removal of these stones led to the discovery of two new inscriptions. One, a dedicatory inscription mentioning a certain Philippos Amynonos, was found on the two upper fasciae of a 2.1 m long architrave. The fact that this name does not appear in the second century A.D. building inscriptions of the Macellum and that the quality of workmanship is largely inferior to that of the original entablature pieces found in previous years could indicate that we are facing a somewhat later document. It could be connected with later restoration phases of the Macellum complex. As aristocratic families maintained the same names from grandfather to grandchild over generations, Philippos Amynonos could have been a relative of P. Aelius Mettius Philippus, the husband of P. Aelia Arruntia, daughter of P. Aelius Akulas, the Macellum's builder, and of P. Aelia Oulpiana Noe, who after her divorce from or after having become the widow of Akulas remarried T. Flavius Severianus Neon, the library builder and the city's main benefactor in Hadrianic times. As the latter Philippos is already mentioned as a Roman citizen in the Antonine Nymphaeum, built under Marcus Aurelius (161-180), he cannot be identified with the former Philippos, who in a later repair of the Macellum (originally built ca. AD 180-191) did not mention any citizenship. Further analysis should be carried out by our team of epigraphists.

The second inscription, probably an acclamation mentioning the city, dated to the second century A.D., was found on one of the parapet plates of the central tholos. The examination of these blocks, placed between the pedestal sustaining the order of the monument, led to the discovery of wear traces and cut channels, which seem to indicate that the round building once housed a fountain or a basin. The absence of hydraulic mortar could possibly be explained by the fact that the tholos was left exposed through centuries and that the revetment eroded away.

[image] Left, Pillar-shaped window post from the west portico.

Right, The inscribed parapet of the tholos, upside down


During the coming weeks, we will focus on the central courtyard, excavating toward the eastern wing of the complex. We should expose about a fourth of the courtyard's surface area and a part of the portico standing on that side. The supposed thickness of the deposits should allow us to find substantial remains of the portico and a large section of the pavement of the courtyard.

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