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July 2003-July 2010InteractiveDig Sagalassos
The sanctuary of Hadrian and Antoninus Pius seen from the north
Aerial picture of the test soundings in the sanctuary's northwest corner
The fireplace inside the second-century A.D. level of the portico

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

The Antoninus Pius Sanctuary: August 3-9, 2003

This week Peter Talloen, Yaprak Özkünü, now with KULeuven archaeology student Karlien De Craen, completed test excavations in the northwest corner of the Hadrian and Antoninus Pius sanctuary, and have made the following conclusions:

  • Occupation phase 1: some traces of an occupation, predating the temple complex were found on top of the natural bedrock. They consisted of a wall (only one course of stones preserved) with orientation similar to the back wall of the mid-second-century A.D. portico, but three m north of it and 2.50 m below the present surface. This occupation probably dates to the early Imperial period, when the city expanded to the south and when, during the reign of Tiberius (14-37), a monumental city gate was built at the end of the main north-south street, in the immediate vicinity of the Imperial sanctuary.

  • Occupation phase 2: the fill of the foundation trench for the back wall of the portico contained ceramics dating to the mid- to second half of the second century. North of the portico's back wall, outside the actual temenos, we exposed the remains of a mortared floor level contemporary with a wall perpendicular to the portico's back wall and thus also from the second century. It represents either a row of rooms at the back of the portico, at least in the northwest corner of the sanctuary, or a structure built against the latter, but not accessible from it.

  • Occupation phase 3: into this floor level a pit was dug, in which a fireplace was created by facing the pit with clay, which, like the clay on the bottom of the depression, was fired during use. Material from within this structure was again dated to the second century. The function of this firing place is uncertain, unless it had something to do with the construction of the sanctuary.

  • Occupation phases 4, 5, and 6: two late Roman to early Byzantine encroachment phases were noted in previous reports. Analysis of the ceramics retrieved from layer 1 in all trenches indicates that this layer represented a late Roman-early Byzantine (6th-7th century) walking level corresponding with two building phases (see July 27-August 2), while occupation of the promontory continued into the middle Byzantine period (8th-10th century), after the abandonment of the city center. Further analysis is needed to establish the exact nature of the occupation, which produced mostly cooking and storage wares.

Last week, our archaeologists also completed the study of the faunal remains (see Subsistence Studies, August 3-9).

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