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July 2003-July 2010InteractiveDig Sagalassos
General view of the domestic area surveyed in 2002
The lid of a early Imperial ash urn decorated with lotus leaves

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

The Urban Survey: August 3-9, 2003

Our urban survey team finished its two-week-long survey, having covered an area of 2.4 hectares (60 sectors of 20 by 20 m), including the remaining southern part of the western domestic area, which now has been fully examined by the intensive surface collection technique (see July 27-August 2). The processing of this year's pottery finds by J. Poblome will answer our questions on the occupation pattern of the surveyed area, but already, on the basis of the architectural and other small finds, a clear picture can be formed of the functional use of this part of the town. The entire area as far as the late Roman fortification wall to the south, was littered with elements of door and window frames, belonging to houses that must have stood on this terraced south facing slope. In the vicinity of a modern farm, which still was inhabited until a few year's ago, we found many fragments of stone mortaria. Although these elements were likely transported to the farm site in modern times, they must have been taken from this western domestic area. We found, especially in the eastern half of the surveyed area, many column fragments, which likely belonged to the peristyles of ashlar-built houses. In addition, the tesserae from mosaic floors, the crustae from wall veneer, and the fragments of window glass indicated the luxurious character of the houses here. Parts of two Ionic capitals, found in the same area, may have belonged to the peristyle of one of the houses, since there are no clear indications for the presence of any important public or monumental buildings in this area.

We further investigated the large storage building facing an open space, which must have functioned as an agora, at the point where this domestic area was bounded to the south by the late Roman fortification wall (see July 27-August 2). Immediately south of this open space a large pedestal and decorated half-columns marked the monumental character of this urban quarter. The sectors surveyed a little farther southwest, beyond the so-called Southwest Temple, yielded evidence of beautifully decorated monumental tombs, indicating that this was the edge of the inhabited urban area in Imperial times. We found a few sepulchral remains within our domestic, walled area, but these were clearly not in situ. Our most important discoveries were a lid of a vase shaped sepulchral urn decorated with lotus leaves and a block with a nicely carved palm-wreath from a monumental tomb or a stele.

The 2003 survey finds clearly testify to a considerable status of some of the houses in this area. As opposed to the northern part of this domestic area (survey 2001), there were apparently no monumental constructions in this residential quarter. Yet, the area was bounded to the south by an important monumental square oriented toward the main access to the town, which took visitors directly toward the city's monumental heart farther northeast. As shown by the 2000 survey in this part of the town, this road was lined with tombs and likely also with workshops. Within the surveyed area there were no indications of metal or glass working activities as found in the northern half of this domestic area (survey 2001). Analysis of the soil samples, taken in order to trace possible metal pollution, may provide us with a more clear picture in this respect.

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