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July 2003-July 2010InteractiveDig Sagalassos
The Northeast Building from the southwest. The colonnaded street is in the foreground (cistern covered with bags); behind are the excavations of central room 5.
West wing of central room 5 seen from the colonnaded street with the second arcade and room 1 in the background (see larger image).
West wing of central room 5 seen from the west, behind it room 6.

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

Upper Agora: July 18-22, 2004

The team of Toon Putzeys and Murat Nagis further examined the late Roman to early Byzantine phases of the "corridor" preceding a row of (work)shops in the Northeast Building, built in Augustan times (phase 1).

After a first (?) transformation, the Northeast Building consisted of a rectangular room, previously called a "corridor" entered from the south and surrounded by an L-shaped arcade on the north and the east (Roman phase 2). The arcades were made of brick arches supported by solid brick piers on limestone bases. Two are still preserved on the east side; a third one south of the current facade has collapsed. Last week's assumption that these piers only formed a gallery on the east side, has to be corrected now, as in the course of the week we found another pier, in the rectangular room's northwest corner. It is situated nearly 1.60 m north of the preserved row of brick piers on the east side, so there must have been a missing pier at the corresponding location on the east. At least two other piers must have made the connection between the preserved northwest pier and the missing northeastern one.

The earthquake around A.D. 500 may have destroyed this (at the latest) second layout of the Northeast Building. The destruction seems to have affected especially the northern arcade. It was replaced by another one--made of roughed-out limestone columns supporting square limestone blocks that were used as impost capitals--placed immediately north of the previous piers and supporting brick arches as well (Late Roman phase 3). To the south, the central room was made smaller through the construction of a mortared rubble facade with larger arched and smaller rectangular door openings. The new northern arcade was transformed into a smaller western room 1 and a larger eastern room 2. Toward the end of the sixth and in the early seventh century, the building's internal organization was changed drastically (Early Byzantine phase 4). The central space surrounded by arcades was subdivided with roughly built rubble walls of limestone, brick, and spolia, and three new spaces were created inside it.

In the course of the seventh century, the central room was utilized as a refuse dump, as was shown by a layer situated against the west wall, from which we retrieved lots of bones, sherds, and other objects (Early Byzantine phase 4), including an oil lamp, a jar, a restorable amphora, and some pilgrim flask sherds. All ceramics were kept separate to be sampled for residue analysis. At the same time, we collected the contents of a complete jar for flotation analysis in order to determine what it held. Comparable material was found in one of the (work)shops excavated last year (see Field Notes 2003, Domestic Area August 24-30), which was closed off in the same period and filled with waste. These transformations suggest the disappearance of an organized system of waste removal from the city and the use of abandoned structures, even in the very heart of the city, as dumping areas. The collapse of the structure covering the internal division walls contained sixth- and seventh-century ceramic artifacts, among them two completely preserved oil lamps.

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