The Macellum: July 20-31, 2008
The work in the Macellum under the direction of Karin Schuitema (Leiden), Sevgi Gerçek (Istanbul) and Aude Goovaerts (Leuven), concentrated on the area that was thought to contain the row of shops behind the east portico and the northern part of the portico itself. The excavations were, therefore, continued towards the east and the north, where 6 new sectors were exposed.
In the east, the large outer wall of the eastern Macellum was found, of which the upper part had collapsed to the east, down the slope of the hill.
In the south-east a space was excavated that could possibly be identified as a shop. In the east it was bordered by the large outer wall of the Macellum, in the north by a later wall and in the west by the original outer wall of the portico, which was made of re-used material (two door sills, two door jambs recarved from faceted columns, one column inserted in a wall) and rubble/brick masonry, part of which was already identified earlier. In this space a white mortar floor was found, which had collapsed in the east. Strikingly large amounts of animal bones were found in the layer just above this floor, especially in the collapsed part in the east. These are possibly found there due to the fact that the rooms behind the portico were used as dumps in the latest phase of the Macellum. Further finds on this floor included an oil lamp, a large mixed amount of ceramics dating to varying periods, including decorated pieces, glass and metal. A wall, directed north-south, appears on top of this mortar floor. This wall might be related to water infrastructure, since pieces of water pipes were found in it.
The door-opening from the portico into this space is probably located farther to the south where it is impossible to excavate due to a steep slope and a large amount of collapsed building material. Therefore, the southern wall of this space has not been found yet either. In the east this space was enclosed by the outer wall of the Macellum.
Farther to the north, another possible room was identified, from which a door-opening in the west gave access to the portico. One of the doorjambs of this opening is still located upright in situ. Farther to the north another possible room was located, which was reached from the portico by a door opening in the east. One of the doorjambs of this door opening was leaning over to one side, but almost in situ. It was placed in its original position.
The door lintels of the door openings described above had collapsed and pieces of them were discovered in the northern part of the portico.
The wall found in between these two rooms (the northern and southern one), however, is very much disturbed to the east and is not connected with the outer wall of the Macellum any more, which was likely to have been the case originally. A possible floor level was found in these two spaces, which appeared at the same elevation as the mortar floor discovered in the south. These floors and the shops as a whole are dated to the 6th c. AD phase of the Macellum the inside of the portico and the shops behind it were rebuilt. The original floor was levelled and east-west walls between the shops were built. In the west the shops were enclosed by the original back wall of the portico.
In the northern part of the portico a continuation of the stairs, oriented north-south made of large-sized limestone blocks, becomes visible. To the north of these stairs a column pedestal is found. It fell down, but is probably almost in situ. Just above a possible walking level in this northern part of the portico, some finds like a coin, an animal figurine and an oil lamp were found.
Next week we will continue excavating to the north to find the rest of the shops and the next part of the portico.