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July 2003-July 2010InteractiveDig Sagalassos
Olive press weight at Kirac Deresi
The wheat fields at Susakli
One of the crushing stones at Susakli

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

Suburban Survey: August 22-26, 2004

This, the fourth and last week of the suburban survey directed by Hannelore Vanhaverbeke (KU Leuven), saw further activities in the Kirac Deresi area (Survey, Suburban, August 15-19). Three more hectares were covered, but they yielded very few finds. In fact, apart from a very thin spread of pottery (not yet studied) and tiles, the only indication for ancient land use in this area is an olive press weight in this area, at 1340 m above sea level. This find seems to support the hypothesis that in antiquity winters were milder and more frost-free, enabling olive culture cultivation at higher altitude. Most probably this was the result of denser vegetation, causing a milder climate.

The southernmost slopes of the Kirac Deresi are fully covered by small-scale and densely cultivated irrigated garden plots (fruits and vegetables mainly) that prevent further surveying. For that reason, we decided to direct our efforts to the more open fields, mainly used for the cultivation of wheat, at the same altitude (ca. 1300-1200 m) farther east, in the area called Susakli, ca. 700-800 m as the crow flies north of the excavation house. Here, survey of six hectares produced numerous finds, and over an area of ca. two hectares pottery and tiles are densely spread. Within this concentration, two olive press weights were found, as well as two possible crushing stones. At a central position in this area there is a small ashlar structure (ca. 20 x 20 m) near which a fluted column was found. The building's character is unclear. No window glass, crustae, or tesserae were found nearby, seemingly excluding an identification of this structure as the site of a suburban villa. In view of this striking lack of luxury indicators, and of the large extent over which ceramic finds are spread, one is possibly dealing here with a hamlet rather than a villa. The olive press weights and the ashlar structure may, however, indicate that this settlement enjoyed financial support, possibly from the urban elite.

Finding our way blocked by densely cultivated gardens in all directions, we decided to call the survey in Susakli to a halt. Instead, we revisited an area we surveyed on the last day of the 2003 suburban survey, some 750 m northeast of the excavation house, at a place called Manastir. In 2003, we could only survey one hectare because of time constraints. The high amount of pottery and tiles, presence of window glass, and some architectural remains (including fragments of a column and an urn) led us to assume that this area contained the remains of a villa. Our return to the area was to check whether indeed we are dealing with a villa site, and not with a larger settlement. Surveying a wider area enabled us to delimit the densest spread of pottery and tiles. This was quite limited (ca. 50 x 50 m), precluding an identification of the Manastir site as anything larger than a villa.

The last day of the season was spent exploring the basin of Canakli, south of the Aglasun valley, in search of areas for future surveying. However, the basin itself is virtually sterile of archaeological finds, as was hinted at already by the corings our geomorphologic team carried out here. These corings indicated that the ancient soil surface is buried under three to four m of colluvium, preventing any ancient traces from appearing on the surface. However, the gentle hill slopes delimiting the basin to the east seem promising, as some villagers told us about wells, pottery, and traces of walls having been discovered there. Equally, the explorations of the geomorphologists in this area have resulted in the identification of some possible site locations.

The last two weeks at Sagalassos will be spent studying material collected this season, mainly the pottery and the glass, and introducing all our data into the existing GIS program. Analyzing the pottery and the spatial patterning of parameters such as manure weathered ceramics, the ratio between fine and coarse wares, etc. will substantially add information to the preliminary outline of the 2004 suburban survey results as described in our reports.

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