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July 2003-July 2010InteractiveDig Sagalassos
Arrows indicate where we plan to excavate the Roman Baths this season
Another view of areas of the upper floor we will investige

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

Roman Baths: Introduction

The team has been excavating the extensive Roman Baths at Sagalassos since 1995, thanks to a generous grant made available by the family L. Lamberts-Van Assche.

The complex was built on a natural hill located to the east of the Lower Agora. Early in the second century A.D. the top of this hill was leveled, and any buildings there were removed. At the same time its surface was enlarged considerably by the construction of an artificial terrace, composed of a number of large vaulted rooms (ca. 100 square meters each). We have exposed five of these rooms and their connecting corridors so far. Most of these rooms never served any specific purpose, but one was transformed into a public lavatory during late antiquity. Another served as a kind of vestibule. The actual bathing section was built on the top floor of the whole complex.

In 2004, we intend to continue our excavations in the following areas of the upper floor:

  1. the central shaft, which connects the Lower Agora with the bathing complex.

  2. the area north of the central shaft, the apodyterium and the newly discovered frigidarium.

  3. the remaining eastern section of the apodyterium and the connecting service areas. This side of the room may reveal further aspects of internal circulation within the building and how the network of service rooms and corridors provide access to the major public areas of the building.

  4. the newly discovered frigidarium, located east of the apodyterium and north of the previously discovered frigidarium. Only a small part of this room was excavated in 2002 and 2003. Therefore, both its chronology and function remain to be determined.

  5. the frigidarium, east of Caldarium 2. The large cold-water bath exposed in 2001 has only been excavated over a very small area.

  6. the eastern section of the Roman Baths.

While completing the excavations of the central shaft and service room during the 2004 season, we might reach a number of rooms located at ground level. Although at present we do not intend to continue the systematic excavations at ground level, we may need to partially excavate some rooms in order to remove the earth from the upper level. Further small-scale archaeological works may also be undertaken in these rooms depending on the needs of the conservation team, such as consolidating the vaults of these spaces. Doing so would provide efficient access to the conservation team and working space to install scaffolding. Finally, over the past years, we used these rooms as closed storage areas for architectural fragments produced by the excavations. Re-arranging the growing amount of finds may also involve some further archaeological work in the vaulted rooms.

See plan of the Roman Baths.

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