In 1706, Paul Lucas, traveling in southwest Turkey on a mission for the court of Louis XIV, came upon the mountaintop ruins of Sagalassos. The first Westerner to see the site, Lucas wrote that he seemed to be confronted with remains of several cities inhabited by fairies. Later, during the mid-nineteenth century, William Hamilton described it as the best preserved ancient city he had ever seen. Toward the end of that century, Sagalassos and its theater became famous among students of classical antiquity. Yet large scale excavations along the west coast at sites like Ephesos and Pergamon, attracted all the attention. Gradually Sagalassos was forgotten...until a British-Belgian team led by Stephen Mitchell started surveying the site in 1985.
Since 1990, Sagalassos has become a large-scale, interdisciplinary excavation of the Catholic University of Leuven, directed by Marc Waelkens. We are now exposing the monumental city center and have completed, or nearly completed, four major restoration projects there. We've also undertaken an intensive urban and geophysical survey, excavations in the domestic and industrial areas, and an intensive survey of its vast territory. Whereas the former document a thousand years of occupation, from Alexander the Great to the seventh century, the latter has established the changing settlement patterns, the vegetation history and farming practices, the landscape formation and climatic changes during the last 10,000 years.
Field Notes 2003-2010
Investigation of Sagalassos and the surrounding countryside
The Antonine Dynastic Gallery at Sagalassos
August 27, 2008
A head of the emperor Marcus Aurelius has been found at the Roman Baths.
Colossal Head of Roman Empress Unearthed
August 13, 2008
We have uncovered a portrait head of the Roman empress Faustina, wife of the emperor Antoninus Pius (r. A.D. 138-161).
Hadrian Hits the Road Again
The head of Hadrian found in 2007 (see "Major Find at Sagalassos") was the centerpiece of an exhibition at the British Museum in London.
Meet archaeologists and other scientists working at Sagalassos.
Daily Life 2003-2008
Happenings in and around camp
Visit www.sagalassos.be for more on Sagalassos.