Tepe Düzen: July 6-10, 2008
Topographical map of the surface remains (in black) made by Sabri Aydal and H. Vanhaverbeke, and of subsurface traces (in green).
After the discovery in 2006 of Tepe Düzen, the Early Iron Age to Late Classical predecessor of Sagalassos a mere 1.8 km to the southwest of the current site, by Dr. H. Vanhaverbeke's "intensive" suburban survey team, this site was officially recognized as being part of the same archaeological unit as Sagalassos and thus has become a site to be protected with the highest priority. As a result, it was possible to excavate there and map the remains using a total station (Sabri Aydal, Hannelore Vanhaverbeke), combined with remote-sensing images (Veronique De Laet), and with the results of geophysical surveys (Branko Mušic and his team).
Small-scale excavations revealed four superposed strata, which are difficult to date as the site seems to have been systematically "cleaned" of all recyclable artifacts after each new occupation phase and finally was "abandoned" (probably because of water shortages) and not "destroyed." At the abandonment, the population removed all portable items to other settlements, among which current Sagalassos is the major one, where they eventually settled down. As a result, the relationship between artifacts (many originating from pits of waste material) and structures could not always be established. Moreover, so far the artifacts mainly date to the late Archaic to late Classical period (sixth-fourth centuries B.C.), whereas the structures seem to be of an older age, as suggested by the Cyclopean type of circuit wall and the overwhelming presence of dwellings of the megaron type or apsidal houses with walls of kerpiç (wattle and daub) supported by a stone socle made of dry rubble, which correspond much better with the Protogeometric and Geometric house architecture of the Greek colonies in Anatolia. Yet, we can't exclude the possibility that such apparent anachronisms represent exactly the so far completely unknown pre-Hellenistic "Pisidian" architecture. The lay out of the various phases seems to have been rather chaotic throughout the site's occupation.
In any case, the results of test soundings and topographical and geophysical surveys, suggest--taking into account the size of the settlement and the presence of monumental structures and of artisanal zones--that eventually one was dealing here with an "urban" settlement, of which some 122 ha were occupied, which is three times larger than Imperial Sagalassos and must have made it the largest Early Iron Age site of Pisidia, whereas Selge assumed this role in Hellenistic and Sagalassos reassumed this rank again as "first city of Pisdia" in Imperial times. At various places, the geomagnetic survey suggested the presence of concentrations of iron and of metallurgical activities, which could explain the size and role of this large early settlement.
Tepe Düzen 1
Tepe Düzen 1
During the first weeks of the current campaign, besides continuing some topographical research, our activities there were divided over two sectors. A first team (Tepe Düzen 1) led by Hannelore Vanhaverbeke and archaeology student Willem Hantson (both KU Leuven), set out a trench of 20 by 5 m, cutting across the area, where in 2007 magnetometry (Branko Mušic, University of Ljubljana) and trace element (lead and copper) analysis of soil samples (Patrick Degryse, KU Leuven) suggested the presence of metal-working areas and kilns.
A first sector of 5 x 5 m was nearly completely excavated, showing a complex succession of intersecting pits (refuse disposal), some of which may initially have been dug to extract the high-quality clays overlaying the limestone bedrock (see last year's reports). The remains of at least 2 buildings were identified (with floor levels in packed earth), constructed in the "typical" way, making use of field stones, set in a more or less regular course of ca. 0.60-0.70m thickness.
One of the walls contained the half of a grinding stone, i.e. a rectangular stone with a triangular depression over its total length and an opening below, into which fitted a now lost triangular cover stone, which could be moved horizontally, so that metal ores were grinded before smelting. Our geologists should be able to determine the source of the stone, which is magmatic. In the past similar stones were sometimes traded over large distances (e.g. grinding stones from the Aegean island of Aegina). The date of the stone has not yet been established.
The tweezers (below) and the bronze ornament (above) from Tepe Düzen 1
Some of this weeks "special" finds are perfectly preserved bronze tweezers, and a circular bronze ornament, which may have been applied either to a leather belt or a piece of wooden furniture. Finds indicating metalworking--slag and bloom--are few and disparate however. Apart from the grinding stone, the major find relating to ancient metalworking at Düzen was the discovery of cassiterite, the mineral source of tin, proving that the site engaged in primary bronze (and also iron) production.
Tepe Düzen 2
Tepe Düzen 2: view from the North at the first trench, with the corner of the building marked in blue
A second team under the supervision of Kim Vyncke (KU Leuven) and Merve Özkiliç (Istanbul University), together with three workmen, opened up a second trench in an area where last year's results from the geophysics team of Branko Music, as well as the mapping done by Sabri Aydal, showed the presence of a large building with several rectangular and square rooms, possibly a storage building. So far one sector of 5 by 5m was completely excavated, showing a corner of a building, surrounded on the outside by several large refuse pits. The walls are impressive in size (up to 0.9m thick), but more research is necessary to determine the place of the building in the relative architectural chronology determined during the previous campaigns.
Tepe Düzen 2: lid of the incense burner (thymiaterion
Although little can be said about the building itself so far, the refuse pits yielded some impressive finds: with the help of our material specialists, we could identify an incense burner (thymiaterion) and refuse parts of an iron kiln, the last showing that iron must have been worked (or even produced) in the city. Lastly, at the inside of the corner, we found traces of a large fireplace (about 1m square), in which some nice finds, like a grinding stone and some worked bone (game pieces?), appeared.
Although firm chronological evidence is lacking for the moment, there is no doubt that we are dealing with structures contemporary with those exposed in previous seasons (Late Archaic to Late Hellenistic at the latest) and that the "urban" site of Sagalassos' predecessor may have played a pivotal role in working and providing the region with metal objects, being an important metallurgical center.