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July 2003-July 2010InteractiveDig Sagalassos
General view of the Northeast Building excavations from the west. The conservation team repairs the north arcade on the left, the corridor with the east arcade's brick pier is visible to the right. The excavation above the cistern encroaching upon the street is to the right of the corridor.
Excavations in the street to the south of the Northeast Building. The collapsed brick pier is clearly visible. A corresponding in situ pier can be seen behind the facade.

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

Upper Agora: July 11-15, 2004

During the second week excavating in the Northeast Building on the Upper Agora, we succeeded in delimiting the corridor preceding the row of (work)shops. Doing so gave a better idea of how the interior of the building may have looked. The corridor, 4.70 m (N-S) by 8.40 m (E-W), is bordered on its north and east sides by arcades. The northern arcade consists of three brick arches that originally gave access to different shops in the back of the building. Limestone columns supported the brick arches; the columns were bearing rectangular blocks of the same material, which were being reused as a kind of impost capital. The eastern arcade probably dates to an older period and consists of two high arches (1.20 m) resting on solid brick piers. What kind of space they provided access to is unclear, but it was bordered on the east by a well-preserved mortared rubble wall, which, as mentioned last week, does not seem to be perpendicular to the north wall of the workshops. Through its (south) facade the corridor could be entered by a series of doors or arched openings, some of which eventually were walled up. The openings allowed entrance from the colonnaded street, which must have been one of the main entrance routes leading to the Upper Agora. Contrary to what was suggested in last week's report, there was no change in the street's or structure's direction. The aforementioned apparently differently oriented part of the Northeast Building's front wall exposed last week was the result of heavy damage, which had cut off one of its edges obliquely. Next week, we will further examine the corridor in front of the shops.

We continued excavating above the eastern part of the cistern. The cistern is located south of the building and encroaches upon the colonnaded street in front of it. In this area we completely removed a thick destruction layer, which contained the remains of a huge collapsed brick pier. Since this pier measures 1.05 by 1.55 m and is also similar in construction to the piers that support the eastern arcades of the corridor, the eastern row of arcades may have continued farther south before the current front wall of the Northeast Building was built. If so, the Northeast Building originally must have contained only a row of brick arcades in front of its east wall and only later did it receive a second row of more roughly constructed and smaller arches of spolia, or reused marble, in its northern part. Its south wall, made of mortared rubble, probably belongs to the same later building phase. That a huge brick pier like the one exposed broke off further attests the magnitude of the earthquake which struck the city around the middle or second half of the seventh century A.D. Since the last campaign, our seismological team (D. Simillox-Tahon, M. Sintubin) was able to use the evidence from a test sounding along one of the historical faults inside the city (see Field notes 2003, Seismological studies) to establish its magnitude at probably 6.4 to 6.8 on the Richter scale. Next to the pier the upper part of some worked limestone blocks were still in place. They may have belonged to a honorific monument along to the colonnaded street.

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