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July 2003-July 2010InteractiveDig Sagalassos
Room 2 with limestone floor
View onto the interconnected rooms in the west of the tower
Excavating the eastern room
View in the eastern room with the limestone floor
Small bone relief found on the floor of the eastern room

Photos courtesy Sagalassos Archaeological Research Project. Click on images to enlarge.
by Ine Jacobs

Fortification Gate 1: August 4, 2008

(remark: situation will in all likelihood be clarified when ceramics have been processed)

The site known as Fortification Gate 1 consists of two tower-like structures situated on both sides of the main north-south colonnaded street of Sagalassos. They are connected to each other by a solid wall which permanently stopped all traffic over this street. This year's excavations have uncovered both the eastern tower of the complex as well as the southern face of the blockage wall.

The eastern tower was bordered by four massive walls (the northern wall was 2.36 m thick, the eastern 1.75 m, the southern between 1.39 and 2.30 and the western 1.55 m) consisting of two faces and a dry rubble fill. The outer faces comprised large amounts of reused architectural blocks, often of very large dimensions but of diverse shapes and origin. The interior faces on the other hand were constructed with limestone rubble. The entrance to the eastern tower was located in its southern wall (ca. 2.96 m wide), which makes it likely that the main core of defence of the city of Sagalassos was in this later period onwards situated on the peninsula with the temple of Hadrian and Antoninus Pius, although habitation continued at several locations within the old city centre. Additional arguments are the fact that the towers protrude in the direction of the old city centre, the use of larger building blocks providing large solidity in the northern face of the blockage wall and the use of mortar on the southern face.

Underneath of layer consisting virtually only of rubble blocks deriving from the walls of the structure, a floor of beaten earth situated on the same level as the doorsill of the tower could be identified. The north-western corner was in addition provided with a make-shift floor composed out of medium-sized rubble blocks, brick and tile fragments of diverse measurements and shapes. Against the western wall and in the north-western corner of the tower traces of hearths were still visible. Abutting the southern wall, just west of the entrance, an additional structure resembling a basin was discovered (ca. 1.40 m long, ca. 0.80 m wide and at least 0.55 m high). Its function for the moment remains unclear.

This floorlevel within the tower had been installed on top of several compact foundation fills. On the whole, it seems that collapse material had been collected in the immediate environment and deposited on the inside of the walls. Within these layers, a number of highly interesting metal finds were exposed, as well as a relief of a house god, a small square altar and a bone relief depicting a lying female and standing male character. In addition, we also encountered a massive statuary base, which must have once stood along the main north-south colonnaded street of Sagalassos.

Against all expectations, an older building phase was encountered underneath this packet of soil. Three rooms were exposed. In the west of the tower, two narrow rooms were interconnected by a low door with a height of no more than 1.16 m. The most northern room possessed a floor made of large limestone slabs. A few steps lead into the southern space, which had at a certain moment been partially equipped with a brick floor. The original dimensions of these rooms could no longer be established as their original borders were in all likelihood destroyed or hidden by the walls of the later tower. The dimensions of a third room, situated in the east, could be established. It was a rather large space of 4.60 m by at least 5.40 m. This space had been partially been given a limestone floor (2.82 m by 1.58 m). The functions of and chronological relations between these rooms is still unclear. The largest eastern room was at a certain moment apparently in use as a cellar room of the tower, since beam holes in its southern and western wall indicated it could be accessed through a wooden staircase leading down from the entrance of the tower.

The clearance of the southern face of the blockage wall constructed on top of the colonnaded street is not yet completed. The most remarkable result in this area was no doubt the discovery of the remains of two steps of the street. This confirms that this road has never been intended to be used by wheeled traffic.

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