This week the urban survey supervised by Femke Martens (KULeuven) resumed its activities from 2003. The survey team is composed of archaeologists Frederik Daniëls and Dirk Booms (both KULeuven), Evrim Güven (Ankara University), and archaeology students Ben Rubin (Ann Arbor, Michigan), Dennis Braekmans, Pieterjan Deckers, Annelies Dierckx-Visschers, Nele Goeminne, Lies Vercauteren, Kim Vyncke, and Kim Quintelier (all KULeuven).
During this first week, a surface of 1.6 hectares was covered (40 sectors) applying an intensive collection technique: five persons walking within a distance of 4 m from one another in an east-west direction, each time returning 2 m to the south in the opposite direction, systematically covering sectors of 20 m by 20 m. Every meter the visibility and density of finds are assessed and counted and recorded on standardized forms. A sixth person registers all the finds. This year the survey again works with two such teams. All architectural remains are photographed and mapped. Analyses of the chronological pattern and the geographical distribution of the finds will be made by processing the evidence with MAPINFO, a desktop mapping program. This will be completed when all the data are collected, but some preliminary observations can already be made. The survey so far concentrated on two areas: directly east of the Theater, in an around the presumed gymnasium (see Near the Theater, gymnasium area, July 11-15) and south of the Lower Agora, corresponding with a zone surveyed by the geophysicists (see Survey, Geophysical, July 11-15). The choice of these areas was partially inspired by the desire to overlap with areas covered by the geophysical survey. For geophysical survey the target areas were largely cleared from vegetation, which created a favorable surface condition for the subsequent intensive archaeological finds collection. Comparison of the results of both types of surveys for the same area provides an important additional level of information to interpret the functional and chronological data from the surface collection within the spatial framework offered by the geophysical work.
In total, we covered 24 squares east of the theater, where the 2003 geophysical survey detected a presumed gymnasium (?) bounded to the north by possible potters' workshops with kilns. As could be expected fragments related to potters' activity (kiln spacers, ceramic slag, dolium fragments, miscasts, etc.) were a bit omnipresent in the area in low numbers. But in two areas we found significant concentrations of this material, including many fragments of dolia, that according to J. Poblome may have contained the clay used by the potters. These concentrations were found in three adjacent sectors north of the gymnasium, and a comparable, though less dense, concentration was found within the presumed gymnasium's courtyard. When this information is compared to the results of the geophysical survey, these concentrations match up with predicted concentrations of clay materials or structures (brick-built structures including kilns) such as in potters' workshops. So there is a clear correlation between surface finds and detected subsurface structures. This relationship will be further explored through the results of the new test trench in the presumed gymnasium as well as by adding the chronological information of the collected surface pottery once it has been processed.
We are surveying a second area to the south of the Lower Agora, where we have covered 16 squares so far on and west of the north-south colonnaded street. Based on a 2001 architectural survey in this region, it was presumed that the colonnaded street was lined, at least to the west, by (work)shops of which some doorframes and wall stretches were still in situ, and that another 6.5m wide north-south road seemed to run parallel to the colonnaded street 25m farther west. These results seemed to be largely confirmed by the geophysical survey. The surface finds from this area need further spatial processing in relation to the surface visibility. But it is clear that the finds differ significantly from what, for example, was found to the east of the theater. Finds in this area include low numbers of metal objects (nails, a ring, hooks), tesserae, crustae, and glass. Significant concentrations of mainly window glass were found in two adjacent squares surveyed upon the colonnaded street, where these finds seemed to have derived from a structure to the west of this street. This area will be further expanded during the next week of survey.