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July 2003-July 2010InteractiveDig Sagalassos
View of the Lower Agora's east side with the East Portico in front. The excavation team can be seen to the right.
The guards' station cistern with the collapsed back wall and fill from the second century behind it

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

Lower Agora: July 4-8, 2004

Our excavation campaign on the Lower Agora was led by Bernard Van Daele (KULeuven, Belgium), Ertug Ergürer (Erzurum University, Turkey), and Marjolein Verschuur (University of Leiden, The Netherlands). This week we concentrated on the southeast corner of the Lower Agora. This area encompasses both the southern extremity of the East Portico, built during the late first century A.D., which seems to have mostly maintained its original division into shops at the back. The area also includes the street that last year was exposed between this portico and the Roman Baths. It turns towards the southeast at this location.

At the beginning of the week, the conservation team pointed the joints of the brick and tuffo vault of the sixth-century A.D. cistern on the inside. The cistern formed part of a complex of two guards' houses established north of the East Portico (see Field Notes 2003). As these activities moved farther inside the structure below the vault, we systematically removed the earth. It was a mix of different layers that had entered through the collapsed front part of the cistern. When we reached the back wall of the cistern, it too was partially standing, exposing a well-stratified fill behind it. The pottery we found there belongs to the early second century A.D., when this whole area was raised to accommodate the new curved northeast access and stairway to the Lower Agora. This raised street level had continued as far as the north wall of the East Portico. During the sixth century A.D., the cistern had been cut through this raised level.

This week we also cleared from the large architectural fragments from the Roman Baths a building that defined the southern edge of the agora. We will excavate it toward the end of the campaign.

Van Daele and company are also used as a mobile intervention team. In that role we had them clear the vegetation on either side of the large colonnaded street connecting the Lower Agora to the South Gate. This work will allow the Slovenian geophysical team to carry out its research here. Each time the crane removes a layer of blocks from the collapse of the Hadrianic nymphaeum, we send this team to excavate the earth in between them.

We began the actual digging on the Lower Agora's southeast corner by removing the top soil (first layer) in one of the sectors close to the southwest corner of the Roman Baths. This layer mostly consisted of earthquake debris originating from the nearby Baths. We will excavate further at the same location next week.

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