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July 2003-July 2010InteractiveDig Sagalassos
Excavations (upper left) of the Hadrianic nymphaeum as seen from the southeast corner of the Lower Agora
The alternation of rectangular and rounded niches in the lowest storey of the nymphaeum's back wall
The recess in the western extremity of the Odeion's facade

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

Hadrianic Nymphaeum: July 11-15, 2004

During the second week, archaeologists and architects combined forces to expose more of this impressive construction. We removed many architectural fragments after they were photographed and drawn; the location of their edges was recorded, thus allowing reconstruction of the enormous pile in three-dimensional views. We identified many nicely decorated fragments belonging to the nymphaeum's entablature. Most consist of architrave-frieze blocks with rich tendril decorations, gable fragments with larger leaf motifs, cornices, and pilaster capitals. At the end of this week we completely exposed the remaining part of the lower nymphaeum's story.

The exact dimensions of the lateral wings cannot yet be completely determined, but measurements of the building thus far suggest a total width of the building of ca. 20 meters. Between the 2.38 m projecting lateral wings, the nymphaeum's back wall was composed of five niches: three rectangular ones alternating with two rounded niches. These niches were flanked by wall sections with small half-pillars. In the center of each niche a rounded hole in the floor contained a terra-cotta pipe. The pipe took the water to holes in the lower part of the building's socle (base) at the back of the drawing basin. How this area could be combined with the placement of statuary is unclear, as normally the latter would have occupied the location of the niches. We discovered four more marble pieces from statues displayed in the five niches (a drapery fragment, part of a leg, part of a base, and part of a statue legs' support decorated with a lion's head). Two partially covered inscriptions also appeared among the collapsed architectural blocks of the Hadrianic nymphaeum. They will be studied later on.

Top, a tendril decoration possibly belonging to a gable fragment. Bottom, detail of the tendrils of one of the architrave-frieze blocks. [image]

At the west end of the Hadrianic nymphaeum, we exposed the western extremity of the Odeion's facade (late Flavian to Trajanic) behind the fountain over five ashlar courses. In this wall section we uncovered the top of a large rectangular recess with a vaulted ceiling inside, located immediately next to the western or left side wing of the fountain. Its rather irregular interior seems to have functioned as a statue niche, but it could represent a simple street fountain. Since we are still working in the higher levels of the collapsed nymphaeum, finds were poor. One remarkable object was the head of a small horse figurine that belonged to one of the rider gods or Christian rider saints that were so popular in late antique Sagalassos.

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