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July 2003-July 2010InteractiveDig Sagalassos
The walled area with traces of occupation from the Early Iron Age to the post-Byzantine period
The rock hollowed out for pressing olives

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

The Suburban Survey: July 20-26, 2003

Completing its second and last week of the surburban survey was the team directed by Hannelore Vanhaverbeke (KULeuven) assisted by archaeologists In Aé Delhaeye (KULeuven), Frederik Daniëls (KULeuven), Yaprak Özkönü (Istanbul University), and archaeology students Senem Özden (Istanbul University), Hasan Horzumlu (Trakya University, Edirne), Dirk Booms, Frank Carpentier, Pieterjan Deckers, Ine Jacobs, Nele Goeminne, Kim Quintelier, Lies Vercauteren, and Annelies Dierickx-Visschers (all KULeuven).

They continued to survey in the Akyamaç area in the hills southeast of Sagalassos, where a suburban villa was identified and, some 200 meters to the south, a second ceramic concentration contained an olive press weight used for the second pressing of olives was found. Mapping pottery and building material densities in MapInfo (GIS) defined these two concentrations clearly. Dating of the pottery will elucidate whether we are dealing with contemporaneous "settlements" (e.g. a villa with outlying buildings) or with an earlier site, followed by subsequent later occupation.

Because of dense vegetation, a new grid was set out ca. 50 meters west of the Akyamaç area, in a landscape of mainly grassy slopes interspersed with prickly oak. This area contained very old terrace walls (pine trees with a diameter 50 cm grow on top of these walls), and other walls that run perpendicular to the contour lines. Within this area a large amount of pottery was collected. A preliminary check of this pottery identified Early Iron Age, Hellenistic, Roman, Byzantine, and post-Byzantine material. In the vicinity, a rock contained a round depression with an overflow channel, most probably used for the first pressing of olives.

Closer to the village of Aglasun, gardens became more common and surveyable areas limited. Therefore it was decided to stop surveying in this area. Instead the team went to "ManastIr," a place in the hills southeast of Sagalassos, where villagers said lots of pottery and tiles could be found. The survey indeed documented the existence of a settlement here, possibly with a tomb/small necropolis attached to it (cf. elements of vase-shaped osteothecae). The exact extent and nature of this settlement is not clear yet.

This week was the last week of the suburban survey, which was highly succesful this year. New discoveries included:

  • the fact that suburban villas were spread rather far out on the hills southeast of Sagalassos, and even in the present day village of Aglasun, where during the first weeks an old cellar was discovered.
  • repeatedly occurring units of suburban villa-monumental/rich tomb-olive press weights
  • Roman infrastructure (two bridges and a possibly Roman road)
  • a possibly regular layout of monumental tombs in the Aglasun valley; if connected to suburban villas, this may point to a regular layout of estates in the valley in Roman times
  • a pre-Hellenistic use of the Sagalassos area (Early Iron Age pottery at the fortress north of the city and on the hills southeast of it; polished ax), some protohistoric sherds in the valley.
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