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July 2003-July 2010InteractiveDig Sagalassos
The large late Roman palatial mansion seen from the Roman Baths towards the end of the week
Room XXXI with its sixth-century A.D. tile floor (see left corner pilaster) and the test sounding that exposed its foundation deposit (right, in front of the door)

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

Domestic Area: August 15-19, 2004

This week, excavation by the team in the northwest corner of the large palatial mansion lasted for two days. The other three days, some of the workmen moved to Frigidarium 2 of the Roman Baths to complete the excavation there. The remainder of the team prepared the site for winter, building brick walls protecting exposed profiles and leveling the soil. One completed research inside room XXXI, the twin room of room XLIV. Pottery found in a test sounding carried out during the previous week shows that both rooms, together with the large reception hall (XXII) located to their south, were built during the first half of the fourth century A.D. However, room XXXI must have witnessed a total reorganization at a later time. Unlike its eastern neighbor, it still contained remains of a tile floor in the corners and near the walls, which could be dated to the sixth century A.D. by pottery in the foundation deposit beneath it. By then, the original floor and also the original wall decoration had already been removed. As in rooms XLIV and XXII, the latter must have consisted of marble veneer and marble or opus sectile floor slabs, since we found no remains of stucco or mosaic fragments. As the reception hall was elaborately repaired after the A.D. 500 earthquake that destroyed its south wall, it seems likely that this ultimate transformation occurred during the later part of the century. In the northwest corner of the excavation area we found another wall section that continued northward. As a similar wall was found in twin room XLII, this might be part of another row of rooms located to the north of the ones uncovered this year. It is more likely, however, that this wall was the back wall of an alley or a small street coming from the main street in the west. This would explain the window in the arched recesses of corridor XXXVI that opened upon this space (see plan). Corridor XXXVI took visitors directly from the street to the vestibule (room XXXV) and waiting lounge (XVII) in front of the reception hall (XXII) on the upper floor. This way it could also have served as a light well for the succession of rooms along it. This will certainly be worth while to investigate next season.

A remarkable find was made by the conservation team, which is still working on the walls of DA. While repointing the wall between corridor XLI and room XLIII, they found an ancient trowel embedded in the ancient mortar. In the mean time, M. Waelkens has also completed his study of all repairs and different phases of the wall structures in the mansion. Based on this information, mortar samples corresponding with all building or intervention phases were taken for analysis by J. Elsen at the KULeuven. At the same time, during the last day of the week, topographers Raf Van den Bergh and Evelien Schippers (a graduate of the De Mayer Institute, Sint-Katelijne Waver, Belgium) recorded dozens of points corresponding with these later interventions in order to link them with the stratigraphical evidence later on for dating.

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