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July 2003-July 2010InteractiveDig Sagalassos
Geological map of Düzen
Iron bloom (already once melted iron) from Tepe Düzen. In a next stage the iron nod-ules would have been hammered out.

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

Geological Surveys: July 9-22, 2008


Riza, our minibus driver (right) saves the dignity and the decency of the geological team's director.

A wide range of mineral resources was exploited at Sagalassos, including various kinds of building stones such as tuff, travertine, sandstone, breccias and conglomerates, and limestone (some varieties of which are semi-crystallized and almost metamorphosed into marble); clays for fine wares and common wares; iron ores; and more. During the first two weeks of this year's campaign, the geological survey directed by Patrick Degryse (K.U. Leuven) continued to identify deposits of minerals such as clays and building materials. The source of clay used for the Augustan-eighth-century A.D. Sagalassos red slip ware was identified years ago as an affluent valley of the plain of Canakli, roughly eight kilometres south of the Sagalassos' Pot-ters' Quarter. In recent years we have focused on finding the source of clay used in "fabric 4." This is mainly a common ware, already used in Early Iron Age Tepe Düzen, and from the fourth century A.D. for amphorae most likely made on the estates in the city's territory that produced their contents (olive and walnut oil, wine, and other goods). And we have identi-fied a number of new local clay resources, potential raw materials for the coarse ware ceramic production.

Undoubtedly, the most important find was made at Tepe Düzen, the eighth-sixth century B.C. predecessor of Sagalassos. There, we found cassiterite (tin-oxide or SnO2) in large quantities. This material was used in bronze production and does not occur locally. Yet, it could very easily be refined to pure tin, necessary for making bronze alloys, by firing it under oxidizing circumstances. It may have been imported from quite far away (e.g. the British Scilly Isles or in this case rather Afghanistan). Its presence opens up new lines of research.

We also found much evidence of iron smelting at Tepe Düzen, indicating that the site had a substantial metal producing capacity, which may be why it is four times the size of Imperial Sagalassos. Along with identifying local ore resources, we made a geological map of Tepe Düzen, to be used as a base for further archaeological and geomorphological research. The plateau of Düzen and the neighbouring Zençirli Tepe (1784 m.a.s.l.) consist of beige lime-stone between limestone breccia layers. Many small stone extraction sites are present in the limestone breccia. It seems that this latter material was mostly used in the almost "cyclopean" defensive walls of Düzen, while smaller beige limestone bocks were used for walls of buildings.

An unexpected setback of the geological survey this year was the dramatic loss of a button off the team director's shirt. However, a rapid intervention by Riza, our faithful survey driver, prevented any further calamity or indecent exposure.

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