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July 2003-July 2010InteractiveDig Sagalassos
General view of the Roman Baths toward the end of the week, seen from the Upper Agora
The frigidarium excavation. The netting on the floor covers the edge of the cold water pool.
The bathtub in the second niche from the west of the apodyterium's south wall. The top of the tub's parapet is just emerging.

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

Roman Baths: July 18-22, 2004

As both teams are excavating one very large room covering ca. 292 square meters, they joined forces during part of the week. So far no internal division can be identified here, despite the different functions of the western (frigidarium) and eastern half (apodyterium).

Roman Baths 1 (Frigidarium F 2)
At the beginning of last week of Markku Corremans and Erdal Ünal's team further freed from rubble one of the huge pillars at the eastern end of the excavation area. They retrieved several fragments of the pier itself from the immediate vicinity. The beginning of the arch in the rectangular recess of the frigidarium's north wall, found last week, was so unstable that the conservation team had to reinforce it temporarily. An approximate reconstruction based on the angle at the springing of the brick arch has been made. The arch, which possibly marks the entrance to the room could be as wide as four meters. Its eastern end has not been found yet, but we exposed a wall fragment (1.72 m wide) with a facing of regular mortared rubble and an infill of opus caementicium (Roman concrete) just north of where the arch's eastern end should be. As the wall's inner filling is visible, it must be broken off here and certainly continued farther south, so that the eastern end of the arch probably can be found at a deeper level. Further excavation during the next weeks will clarify this. A peculiar find this week was a piece of a chipped flint. This stone tool still has to be analyzed for dating, but last year a similar Late Palaeolithic to Neolithic chipped-stone tool was found nearby and also last week a flint with retouches was found in the same area by the other team excavating in the Roman Baths. They probably ended up in the Roman Bath destruction layers because they had been mixed in the mortar of the room's concrete vault. Also among the finds were several fragments of ashlars and some smaller decorated pieces.

Roman Baths 2 (Apodyterium A 2)
Over the week, the RB 2 team directed by Johan Claeys and Murat Arik reached a level of about 1.50 m above the room's floor. The main part of the room seems to be filled with a thick layer of destruction debris (layer 5), mainly composed of large limestone rubble that now needs to be removed by means of an elaborate system of metal bridges. Along both the south and north walls, however, one is faced with a brown layer that lacks the dominating limestone rubble and contains more brick fragments (layer 3). The destruction layers must originate from the collapse of the walls and vaults, respectively. In the room's western part we expected sitting benches to be present, but in the second niche from the west the team uncovered the top of a 3.85 m by 0.32 m parapet, which closed a niche of the same width and a depth of 1.60 m. The balustrade is composed of two large blocks originally held together by a fish-shaped iron clamp. The south wall of the apodyterium tub contains, a rectangular opening through which water was supplied. We could detect a vertical water pipe discharging into a V-shaped channel, both made of terra-cotta elements. We uncovered a recess with the same dimensions (3.85 by 1.60 m) west of this tub. At our current excavation level we did not encounter (yet) a balustrade, but there are similar openings in the back wall that could have been used for water provision, although their preservation is not quite as good as the one described above. Within the eastern one of these channels one still found a very light pumice stone, polished on all sides, which was most probably used to scrub the skin while bathing and was discarded or lost after extensive use. The niche's southeast corner still had some marble revetment attached to the walls.

Corridor 3
The RB 2 team also started excavating a corridor (Co 3 on the plan in Roman Baths, July 5-11), south of the new pool in the apodyterium, which has remained partially unexcavated since 2002. Removal of the debris will not be easy because the only access is through a window opening in the wall above the new bathtub. Further excavation of this area is needed to learn us more about its exact function (probably a water-distribution system) and its state of preservation.

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