Potter's Quarter: August 12-25, 2007
Study of the Water Infrastructure
We opened two more trenches to investigate two north-south oriented anomalies visible at the surface and in the magnetometry survey. Although not fully corresponding with the north-south anomaly detected at the surface, a north-south oriented water channel was found in trench 2, ca. 1.10m below the surface. This well-preserved channel was composed of U-shaped prefabricated terracotta channel segments, closed off with half tiles. The channel was visible over a length of 3.20m and proved to date to the Late Roman period. This system ran in the direction of the ashlar building, but the exact origin of the conducted water could not be established.
Trench 3 (10m by 3m) was opened farther north where the continuation of the two north-south anomalies was again visible at the surface. Apart from a stretch of a northwest/southeast oriented rubble built terrace wall (possibly bounding the southern edge of a street to the north), we also found a well-preserved northeast/southwest oriented terracotta pipeline in this trench, dating to the sixth century A.D. The stretch was visible over ca. 3.20m and seemed to head in the direction of the modern source to the immediate west of the ashlar building.
C14 analysis on charcoal remains within the interior mortar coating of the aqueduct will hopefully allow us to date the aqueduct
As the evidence from the test soundings did not support an interpretation of the ashlar building as a castellum aquae, we finally investigated the building proper by removing the surface vegetation. The building was west-east oriented (with a slight northeast-southwest angle). Its exterior walls were built of mortared rubble with ashlars at the corners. The building had a length of 26.50m and a width of 12.25m. A survey of the architectural elements within this building revealed three entrances at the western end of the building, which were accessible from a preceding rectangular space, interpreted as a narthex. As at the eastern end of the building also the remains of an apse could be identified, this building in all likelihood was a church.
The test soundings and non-invasive research in the north eastern part of the Potters’ Quarter thus allowed to draw a number of conclusions on the water network and the functional use of this part of the town. In the first trench, the position of the Upper Eastern Aqueduct could be determined, about 50m south of the building which was supposed to have functioned as a castellum aquae. The layout of the channel could not be dated on the basis of the related pottery, but the pottery did indicate that the channel must have been maintained into late antiquity. The position of the excavated system showed that there was no relationship between the Upper Eastern Aqueduct and the presumed castellum aquae. Instead, the excavated stretch could be connected with two other parts of the same system, discovered during previous campaigns. The Upper Eastern Aqueduct, therefore, did not supply the Potters’ Quarter, but must have been arranged to supply (a particular building in) the town center. Nevertheless, the water infrastructure found in the two trenches excavated west and north of trench 1 showed that there must have been some local or adducted supply in the area at least during late antique times. Finally, the investigation of the presumed castellum aquae allowed us to identify the function of the building. Instead of being a water-related construction, the building likely was a church. This interpretation was supported by architectural evidence, the west-east orientation of the building and its prominent location overlooking the valley to the west and south of Sagalassos.