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July 2003-July 2010InteractiveDig Sagalassos
The survey team in the fields on the plateau near Gökpinar
The early Imperial ash urn

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

Suburban Survey: August 8-12, 2004

After surveying the catchment area of the Gökpinar spring, our suburban survey team led by Hannelore Vanhaverbekel descended to the lower-lying plateau where the actual spring is located. The plateau is almost completely used for cereal cultivation. The fields were harvested at the end of July, presenting the surveyors with perfect conditions. During this second week of surveying, we covered ten hectares. We took several soil samples at some distance from the town center to assess the degree of pollution in the area (ca. 1 km southeast of Sagalassos). The plateau gave us numerous indications for ancient land use. We discovered traces of a paved road following the course of one of the tractor paths crossing the area. If of Roman date, this road may have led to Sagalassos, though this is not clear. The survey find of this week is undoubtedly the remains of yet another suburban villa! Previous survey seasons have shown several of these villas, which has taught us where to expect them. They are usually found in the vicinity of Sagalassos, on slight elevations in the landscape, and close to land suitable for some agricultural or horticultural exploitation (well watered, arable land). These luxurious mansions are built with a combination of large masonry stones and mortared rubble and include baths, mosaics, and marble walls. The mansions are associated with equally luxurious tombs probably erected for their owners. In most cases, evidence for agricultural or horticultural exploitation is readily available in the form of olive press weights.

Centrally located on the Gökpinar spring plateau on a gently rising hill, our team came across the remains of a wall of masonry stones and mortared rubble. Two beautifully executed second-century A.D. klinè sarcophagus lids were found here, one on top of the wall and one lying upside down just next to it. One of these had been recorded during the 1993 non-intensive survey near Aglasun. There are more architectural remains among the rubble in which both lids are embedded including some huge masonry stones and a colossal door lintel. It is clear that here we are dealing with a monumental tomb. A first century A.D. fluted and vase-shaped ostotheca (ash urn) was located in the vicinity. We can see several rubble concentrations and artificial depressions east of the remains of the monumental tomb and over an area of about 30 square meters. Some of these conceal the remains of walls. We collected many tableware fragments, fragments of window glass, crustae, and one hypocaust tile while surveying this area and the fields down slope from it. These finds support the interpretation of this large structure as another suburban villa. The extent over which archaeological finds occur in a dense pattern is limited to the immediate vicinity of the villa. Further survey of this area yielded limited evidence for ancient land use and occupation. At the end of this week, the survey team reached the southernmost border of the Gökpinar area. Next week, the third week of the suburban survey, the team will explore the valley that runs parallel and east to the Gökpinar area.

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