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July 2003-July 2010InteractiveDig Sagalassos
The Roman Baths from the northwest. The left corner room in the front is a tepidarium, the large room to the right of it is caldarium I.
View of the bath complex from the Upper Agora
The east wall of the apodyterium and the private (?) caldarium II section emerges from the debris.

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

The Roman Baths: July 20-26, 2003

The two teams continued--with much enthusiasm--the rather unpleasant task of removing tons and tons of debris from the collapsed vaults in the northern section of the huge Roman Baths complex (built ca. A.D. 120 to 165). The western section, excavators under the supervision of Johan Claeys (KULeuven) and Mustafa Kiremitçi (Trakya University, Edirne) have removed 205 cubic meters of debris from an area of 220 square meters. Another 295 cubic meters of rubble and brick fragments will have to come out before we reach the floor level of three rooms in this area: the eastern sections of the apodyterium with its opus sectile floor and of a private (?) bath section north of the sixth-century caldarium II (previously functioning as a "Kaisersaal," connected with the imperial representation), as well as the western section of another room farther east. This week we exposed the east wall, thus far made of brick layers, of the apodyterium and the private (?) caldarium section to the south of it. Its upper layers indicate that both rooms were connected through a vaulted passage, with another large space east of them, the exact nature of which we haven't yet established. During the past days, we found lots of small tesserae, many of them glass. This suggests that the ceiling of the new room once was covered with a mosaic.

In the eastern section of the excavations, supervised by Markku Corremans (KULeuven) and by Erdal Ünal (Eskisehir University), we've already hauled away some 198 cubic meters of debris. Excavations here focus on a representative room with at least one large rectangular and at least one semicircular recess in its solid brick south wall. We intend to establish its nature by reaching part of the floor level and to establish its relationship to the western row of four ashlar piers belonging to one of the two rows of such piers, symmetrically arranged on either side of the frigidarium. Calculations show that a total of 330 cubic meters of debris needs to be removed in order to achieve this goal. In both areas, detailed planning on a weekly basis has been made, in order to restrict or expand the goals as we move on. Excavations here are not easy, as every room is filled with nearly six to seven meters of debris, and we have to leave stepped wall sections along the trenches in order to prevent them from collapsing during our activities or during the wet winters.

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