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July 2003-July 2010InteractiveDig Sagalassos
The (work)shops along a street in the northeast corner of the Upper Agora
The collapsed upper part of the northeast honorific column being exposed
The gigantic Corinthian capital and its decorated statue support inside the northeast (work)shops

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

The Upper Agora: August 10-16, 2003

This week, the excavations in the (work)shops built against the northeast gate of the Upper Agora exposed a collapsed arch. This arch--the third from the west in a series of arches spanning the back rooms of a row of late Roman to early Byzantine shops--consisted of five to six rows of bricks set on a tuffo block. Within the portico in front of these back rooms, we removed a light-brown destruction layer composed of mortar with large amounts of building debris (tiles and stones).

Within this layer, we discovered the upper part of the northeast of four 11 m tall honorific columns, erected in mid-Augustan times (around the beginning of our era). It had gone through the roof and walls of the row of shops. We found the uppermost column drum, the Corinthian capital (height: 1.16 m; lower diameter: 0.83 m), and the S-shaped statue base (for a bronze statue; height: 0.65 m; width 0.99 m) on top of it, decorated with elegant palmettes. The four columns seem to have been erected during Augustus' reign in the four corners of the Upper Agora, which was then enlarged and paved. They may have been dedicated to members of Sagalassos' most prominent family, which financed the work. Originally the columns had inscriptions identifying the statues, but only those on the two western columns could still be read, naming the honored citizens as Krateros and Eilagoas, sons of Kallikles. The sons of Eilagoas, Tiberius Claudius Dareius and Tiberius Claudius Neon, would become Sagalassos' first Roman citizens, probably during the reign of Tiberius or Claudius. In Flavian times, Tiberius Claudius Dareius' grandson, Tiberius Claudius Piso, would become Sagalassos' first Roman knight and introduce the Klareian games in the city (see Lower Agora - Hadrianic Nymphaeum, August 10-16). Tiberius Claudius Neon's granddaughter Claudia Severa, together with her brothers, erected a monument to Trajan near the stadium and married the scion of Sagalassos' second grand family, Titus Flavius Neon, another Roman knight, who introduced the imperial cult in the city. Their grandson, Titus Flavius Severianus Neon, who dedicated a library to the memory of his ancestors and possibly also initiated the construction of the Roman Baths, must have been the richest man ever to live at Sagalassos (he lived in Hadrianic times). As the well preserved components of the northeast honorific column were present within the destruction layer, undoubtedly the result of the mid-seventh century earthquake that destroyed the city, the monument dominated the city scape until the abandonment of Sagalassos.

The supposed portico was delimited to the south by a wall (running east-west from the door giving access to the portico from the colonnaded street) that consisted of mortared rubble stones held by better built parts composed of spolia. This wall shows two successive blockings of an originally rather large opening. On the colonnaded street itself south of the shop complex, the same destruction layer as inside, with a thickness of more than 2 m, was removed, until the layer covering the floor level was reached. This layer contained remains of ashes and charcoal. On it, we found a large amount of roof tiles, suggesting that the roof of the portico had collapsed here.

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