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July 2003-July 2010InteractiveDig Sagalassos
The ceramic team pieces together the set of identical vessels from a fifth-sixth century A.D. shop in the Upper Agora's western portico.
A restored vessel from the Upper Agora and a fragment of an amphorae from the Lower Agora

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

Ceramic Studies: July 25-29, 2004

During last week, our ceramological team finished processing pottery excavated five years ago from the Western Portico on the Upper Agora. Some interesting results have been reached thus far. The shops in the portico are being studied from a functional perspective to reconstruct not only the development of the area in general, but also of that of the individual rooms. By identifying ceramic vessels and their function one is able to assign a possible function to a shop or room. One of the rooms studied--one of the workshops established in the portico during the fifth century A.D.--yielded ten bowls and containers all dated to phase 8 of the locally produced Sagalassos red slip ware (ca. 450-550/75). The number of vessels and their completeness indicates that they either had been dumped as a group or had been left behind, when the room was abandoned.

Meanwhile, the pottery study focused on two shops in the Western Portico of the Lower Agora, a public square with a more commercial character. The three northernmost rooms are currently being studied. Shop 7, the northernmost of these spaces, yielded evidence for economic activity during Sagalassos' last occupational phase, the late sixth and early seventh century A.D. This shop consists of two rooms, and we retrieved an enormous amount of pottery inside the northern room, whose function points to storage of foodstuffs, as we found some large dolia (storage containers) there. Among the pottery were a great many fragments of imported amphorae (Late Roman 1 type) probably containing olive oil from the region around Antioch on the Orontes (nowadays Turkish Antakya), as well as amphorae (Late Roman 4) produced around Gaza, southern Palestine, and used to transport white wine. Perhaps this space functioned as a selling point for foodstuffs, although further study should clarify this hypothesis. As the southern room is concerned, the study of the pottery here should shed more light on the interpretation of the northern room. In any case, the presence of both Syrian and Palestine goods during the final phase of the occupation of Sagalassos, show that the settlement, which gradually assumed a more rural character, still maintained international contacts, a fact corroborated by similar finds during the final phase of the large palatial mansion (see Domestic Area, July 4-8). Further detailed study of the pottery will enhance our knowledge of Sagalassos economy in the Late Roman/Early Byzantine period.

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