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July 2003-July 2010InteractiveDig Sagalassos
The water systems in the northeast corner of the Lower Agora: limestone slabs from the gutter are on the right, below the terra-cotta pipes and U-shaped drainage systems. The original pavement slabs of the street are visible in the foreground.
View of the northeast corner of the Lower Agora from the north. The excavated eastern guard's room is to the left behind the partially covered water system.

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

The Lower Agora - North: July 20-26, 2003

We continued excavations along the Lower Agora's east side, between this square and the west facade of the Roman Baths (see last week's report). Bernard Vandaele (KULeuven) and by Kerim Altu (Istanbul University) supervised the northern excavations, first focusing on the space just north of the unexcavated structure we tentatively identified as a butchery (see introduction). Here, we removed a seventh-century A.D. walking level (layer 4) over an area of nearly 25 square meters, exposing a sixth-century fill (layer 5) below it. This fill had been deposited above an older street from which the limestone slabs had already been removed in late antiquity. This proved to be very fortunate, for below the level of the slabs, we could expose a whole water-supply and gutter system, including a large gutter rounding the northwest corner of the Roman Baths, covered by large limestone slabs. Five years ago this gutter could be entered from the large latrina (public lavatory) in the ground floor of the bath complex and mapped and followed over a distance of 124 meters. Above and around it are four terra-cotta pipe supply systems as well as two U-shaped drainage systems composed of terra-cotta slabs surrounded and covered by mortared rubble. The layout dates back to the mid-second-century A.D., when the bath building was constructed and a street--separated from the Lower Agora by the latter's eastern portico and the shops behind it--was built immediately to the west. Farther south, this street still had its pavement slabs.

We partly excavated the early Byzantine structure, south of the exposed street section, that we thought was a cattle butchery site, based on the bone material thrown inside a Trajanic street fountain nearby (see introduction). We were wrong. The structure consisted of two apparently identical rooms separated from one another by a small passage. The easternmost of these rooms, measuring only 1.85 by 1.75 meters, was completely excavated. It had a raised tile floor that could be reached through a doorway with a few steps in front of it from the south. The occupation layer (layer 5) produced, in addition to a possibly "residual" fourth-fifth-century A.D. coin, three others belonging to the later sixth-early seventh centuries. Two had macrobotanical remains attached to them and have yet to be cleaned, but the third one could be dated to the reign of Tiberius II (578-582). These small rooms have a dominating position on a terrace wall overlooking the Lower Agora and the surrounding structures. That, together with the fact that they sit astride the northeastern entrance to this square and last year we found quite a number of militaria (including arrowheads) around them, suggests the "butchery" in reality was two guard rooms for soldiers controlling the activities on the early Byzantine Lower Agora. (The ceramics below and inside the structures confirm the occupation date suggested by the coins.) South of the terrace supporting the two guard rooms, we partially exposed a room at a lower level (room 3). The slaughtering of cattle, documented by the type of bones--only skulls without horns, which were removed with the skin; ribs; and leg bones with clear traces of removing the flesh and always broken to extract the marrow--must have taken place in the open area north and west of the guard rooms. The layers above this early Byzantine structure (layers 2 and 3) were composed of debris from the mid-seventh-century earthquake, including lots of building fragments from the bath complex's west facade and from the Hadrianic nymphaeum on a terrace above the northern edge of the Lower Agora (see introduction).

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