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July 2003-July 2010InteractiveDig Sagalassos
The suburban area immediately east of the Potters' Quarter
The survey team on the steep slopes east of the city
Remains of a Hellenistic (or earlier) watchtower

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

Suburban Survey: August 1-5, 2004

The suburban survey this year is carried out by the urban survey crew of the past weeks (see Survey, Urban, July 11-15; 18-22; 25-29), except for Evrim Güven (Ankara University), Frederik Daniëls (KULeuven) and Ben Rubin (Ann Arbor), who were replaced by Michael Teichmann (University of Wien) and Ayse Tatar (Ankara University). They focused on the area east of the Potters' Quarter, just beyond the excavation concession boundary, the catchment area of the Gökpinar spring. This area is delimited in the west by a steep slope, the edge of the Potters' Quarter basin, by the limestone cliffs of the Akdag Mountain and its screes to the north and by a row of gently sloping limestone hills to the east. In the south, both these limestone hills and the scarp east of the Potters' Quarter gradually converge to form a narrow valley. The area has very sparse vegetation. Where the land is free from scree deposits, pine, thorn cushions and grasses cover it. Today, this area is used for the herding of goats.

Our intensive survey aims here are threefold. First, most probably a road led into the city from the east and we want to trace its course. Second, we wanted to gather information on the way in which this area was occupied and exploited. To realize both aims intensive surveys are undertaken (eight people working in squares of 50 by 50 m, registering surface visibility, ceramic densities and the location of all other artifacts, and collecting all sherds, including nondiagnostic ones). Subsequently the pottery is studied: fabrics are determined and quantified, fine ware rims are attributed to well-known types and dated, functional categories are distinguished. Third, we also wanted to gather information on the ancient pollution of this area, for which geological analysis produced ample evidence last year, especially for the late antique and early Byzantine period, when herds and intensive farming were practiced again on terraces very close to the city causing heavy metal pollution in faunal remains, and at the same time testifying to phosphate pollution as the result of more extensive manuring. Soil samples will be taken again for chemical analysis in the Laboratory of Physico-Chemical Geology at the KULeuven.

During the first week of surveying, the crew covered 9.5 hectares. Archaeological traces differed vastly between the area just east of the city and the area further to the northeast. The former area yielded a lot of ceramic slag, burned tiles, large misfired sherds, and a vast quantity of dolium and container sherds, nearly exclusively in the not-so-common fabric 2. In previous years, the same kind of vessels were found in some of the excavated potters' workshops, some of them still containing fine clays from Canakli, 8 km to the south of Sagalassos and used during seven centuries for the production of Sagalassos red slip table ware. Therefore, one is most probably dealing here with a dump of clay recipients from the nearby potters' activity. In the same area, a couple of sarcophagi were located, as well as a monumental tomb of Roman Imperial date. One tower of the Hellenistic (or earlier) defense system, made of polygonal blocks, is also situated in this area. Several of the limestone outcrops in this area show traces of quarrying. Tentatively, before having the full results of the pottery analysis at our disposal, we suggest that this area had several functions, whether or not contemporaneously: a funeral, an industrial (quarrying), and a garbage disposal area (possibly garbage originating from the Potters' Quarter). It is not clear whether people actually lived in this area. Some isolated ashlars were noticed, but no actual structures could be discerned. A lot of rubble stones lie about, some of which form clusters, but since the area in general is the deposition area of colluvium and limestone debris from the mountain range to its north, it is extremely difficult to differentiate between anthropogenic and natural deposition activities. The northeast area, which we only started to survey, on the contrary, is virtually bare of archaeological remains. Screes are very active here and we assume that all remains that may have been present here have been buried under the scree deposits. For that reason, next week we will leave this area and extend our survey in a southern direction, away from the area of intense erosion and deposition.

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