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July 2003-July 2010InteractiveDig Sagalassos
The sanctuary seen from the Upper Agora with the ruins of the temple dedicated to Hadrian and Antoninus Pius in front
The steps of the mid-second-century Ionic portico around the sanctuary's courtyard

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

The Antoninus Pius Sanctuary: July 20-26, 2003

Jeroen Poblome and Peter Talloen (both KULeuven) supervised the investigation of the northwest corner of this sanctuary for a second week, identifying various occupation periods.

Elements of the northern portico, built in the Ionic order and surrounding the temple square, were documented in situ, as well as incorporated into later walls. The portico, entered by two steps, had a depth of 7.74 meters and intercolumnar space of 2.42 meters. We found no traces of slabs in the courtyard, but the fact that the layer starting from the lower step was a horizontal surface and contained only second-century A.D. material (mid to second half), might indicate it was originally paved. The date of this material corresponds well with the fact that the sanctuary had been started under and dedicated to the deceased emperor Hadrian (r. 117-138), but was only completed and co-dedicated to his successor Antoninus Pius (r. 138-161).

Two phases of encroachment in the temple's courtyard, incorporating the original portico, were identified. One is dated to the second half of the fifth or the beginning of the sixth century, the other to the sixth century. Both phases involved construction of rectangular spaces with walls made of mortared rubble and spolia from the sanctuary. Analysis of the pottery should provide further chronological details about how the phases evolved and possible connections with the A.D. 500 earthquake.

As far as later occupation is concerned, the plot for the existence of a mid-Byzantine occupation thickens. A small number of coins can be attributed to this period--this week we found two coins dated to the reign of Constantine IX (r. 1059-1067) and an anonymous follis of 1068-1072. These can be associated with a growing amount of contemporary ceramics, a wall alignment, and a destruction level.

Given that the general plan of the whole area consists of a series of long rectangular structures in all Byzantine levels, there seems to have been a systematic planning effort, possibly initiated by some kind of central authority. A military initiative might fit with the available literary evidence (De Thematibus), which mentions such a presence at Sagalassos during the tenth century, but conclusive evidence is still lacking. Possibly the sanctuary promontory of became a kind of garrison site, with a contemporary to even later Byzantine fortification on the nearby Alexander's Hill (see report July 6-12, 2003).

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