Home | Archaeology Magazine | More Digs | AIA
Archaeology's Interactive Dig
July 2003-July 2010InteractiveDig Sagalassos
Reassembled statues of Aphrodite and a satyr

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

Sculptural Studies: August 24-30, 2003

Semra Seral (Cologne University) focused her study on the many pieces of statuary found in the Hadrianic nymphaeum's basin (see Lower Agora - Nymphaeum, August 17-23). The first piece of sculpture recovered from the building this year was the left hand of a colossal marble statue (at least 5 m). Both modelling and posture identified the hand as belonging to a statue of a male, while its size suggested an imperial figure. A few days later this hypothesis was confirmed by the discovery of a colossal head (height .75 m) of the empress Sabina, the wife of Hadrian (A.D. 117-138). The empress is represented with a veiled head and wears a diadem decorated with floral motives (see find of the week). It became clear with this discovery that the imperial couple formed the main group of the nymphaeum's statuary outfit.

A second group is formed by statues, such as those of Poseidon and a satyr, belonging to the Dionysiac circle or directly connected with the function of the building. Except for the head of Poseidon, these statues could be reassembled almost completely and will be restored next year. The Poseidon statue was identified by its attributes--a dolphin support and a trident in the left hand. The satyr has lost a lot of its animal features, but he holds a lagobolon (a throwing device for hunting) and is wearing the usual goat's skin knotted over his right shoulder. The modelling of both statues suggests they were made during the same time period as Sabina. Another statue, representing Aphrodite (head and arms missing), was an addition to or replacement of the nymphaeum's original statuary as the drilling of her hair and of the fringes of her cloak suggest a later date.

Other fragments suggest the presence of at least eight statues. According to an inscription mentioning one of the Tiberii Claudii (see Lower Agora - Nymphaeum, August 17-23), the statuary group must also have included some of the city's aristocrats. The statues will be displayed after restoration at the Burdur museum, where they will join statuary groups from the Lower Agora's Severan nymphaeum and the Upper Agora's Antonine fountain.

Previous pageNext page

InteractiveDig is produced by ARCHAEOLOGY Magazine
© 2010 Archaeological Institute of America

Home | Archaeology Magazine | More Digs | AIA