Odeion: July 18-August 2, 2007
In the third and fourth week of this campaign, we concentrated most of the time on the further excavation of the northeastern part of the ancient cavea. As we could already see in the first weeks, very few traces of the benches for spectators remain. In most of the area, we quickly reached the natural bedrock of ophiolite. However, we uncovered some structures of different periods, of which the function is not always clear. In the northwestern part of our excavation, we discovered some small rubble walls which seem to define a kind of small space, and in between these walls a destruction layer was present, however with very few finds. It is definitely a very late structure, as it is partially built on a part of the back wall that is demolished on that place, but the precise meaning and date of it is unclear. Unfortunately, we also had to cease excavation in the westernmost sector, as the back wall appeared to be in a very bad state of preservation, and we even had to take down a part of the top of it to prevent a total collapse.
More to the east, we had more luck and could uncover there a kiln, dating from before the construction of the Odeion. The kiln was rather small (diameter ca. 1.60 m), with a small entrance (0.9 m long and 0.35 m wide). At the moment, its exact function cannot be determined, but it definitely did not serve to produce iron or glass. Analysis of the ceramics and soil, with sometimes lots of charcoal, can hopefully give us more information. As the kiln was in fact not constructed with (mud)brick, but really dug out in the natural bedrock of the slope, its limits could only be recognised by traces of burnt soil. Provisional study of the ceramics points to a very early date, around the beginning of the Imperial period. Also the fact that this is the first kiln found outside of the Potter's Quarter makes it an important discovery. Unfortunately, the kiln could not be totally excavated, as its eastern part is partially destroyed and overbuilt by a water channel.
Excavation in the easternmost sectors of the Odeion revealed more original structures just north of the Room 2, which was excavated in 2006. A rather well-preserved water channel started from the back wall and ran over the kiln toward the southeast corner of the cavea. Scanty remains of a second water channel could be determined nearby, and it seems that both were joining together downwards to the south. The extremities, however, were not preserved. At this point, some walls were still present, which in fact seem to define a space in the very southeast corner of the cavea. First, we thought that this could be a second entrance room, next to the one leading to the podium and "VIP lounge," but while going deeper, it became obvious that there was no entry in this area, but only a closed space of ca. 3.6 by 2.3 m, with walls on the four sides of ca. 2.75 m high.
||Left, the deep structure to the north of Corridor II that was rebuilt on its west side in the fourth-fifth century A.D. Right, test sounding looking for the water supply systems in Corridor I
The interpretation of this small room is very difficult, in part because some later alterations have been noticed in the walls, but most likely it was connected with the water collection of the Odeion, as two water channels seem to end here. However, no other features of any kind of water supply or drainage were found in the space, and the walls also show no trace at all of mortar to suggest the possible presence of a water collector here. Most of the walls and the two water channels appear to belong to the original construction of the Odeion, but the wall blocking the space in the west has been rebuilt in the fourth or fifth century A.D. This rubble wall contains a lot of re-used architectural blocks and we could see four small parts of an inscription. When we clear this wall at the outside, it is very likely that more fragments will be discovered. We also hope that a more detailed study of the rather abundant ceramics can give a good date for the original construction of the cavea, as we could excavate some foundation trenches.
When digging deeper to the west of this space, some foundations appeared of the benches or maybe staircase of the cavea, and we expect to find more substantial structures next week, when we will make the connection with the edge of the orchestra, which was excavated in 2006. The top of the orchestra wall is, however, situated still 3 meters below the level where we are now.
In the last days of Week 4, we started a test sounding in Corridor 1 (excavated in 2005) to discover more about the water infrastructure which has partially been excavated in a test sounding in 2006. We quickly reached the water channel, but could not clear the whole structure yet. Next week we will hopefully have more information about the water house holding of the Odeion.