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July 2003-July 2010InteractiveDig Sagalassos
The north face of the northern transept is composed of ashlars from the Apollo Klarios Temple.
The mortared-rubble inner facing of the northern transept placed against the original temple ashlars
Part of doorframe dating to the Augustan building phase of the temple

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

Sanctuary of Apollo Klarios: August 14-18, 2005

This week, we started the test soundings inside the church building, more particularly in the northern part of the basilica's transept. These soundings were conceived in order to investigate the interior layout of the church and retrieve part of the furniture of the building, which might provide us with information for several phases of the structure's building history.

First, some 60 architectural elements, most from the temple of Apollo Klarios and later reused in constructing the church, were registered and then removed by the mobile crane operated by Tufan Ayan. These elements included numerous wall blocks of the temple's cella, several column drums, as well as parts of the entablature. The latter could be dated on stylistic grounds to a first repair of the temple that consisted of erecting a new peristasis (external colonnade) and of placing marble veneer against the interior walls. The building inscription from this renovation mentions that the shrine then also served the cult of the Imperial family and that a local family, who had received Roman citizenship under Vespasian, paid for it. As the inscription also mentioned the governor of Asia, Proculus, and as Sagalassos was then part of that province, the structure's restoration, possibly after earthquake damage, could be dated to the reign of Trajan, and more precisely to the year A.D. 103-104, when Proculus was governor.

When the shrine eventually was turned into a basilica, the cella blocks were reused for the outside walls of the church and the peristasis was reused inside for the colonnades of the basilica, dividing the nave from the side aisles.

The deposits excavated inside the church building so far have consisted of destruction layers containing large amounts of rubble, tiles, and tuff blocks, which most probably originated from the inner face of the north wall of the transept. This wall was built of mortared rubble, against an outer face of limestone ashlars in a pseudo-isodomic arrangement (i.e. with alternating higher and lower courses of ashlars). The inner face of these ashlars still shows the holes for hooks, which in A.D. 103-104 held the marble veneer in place. The masonry of the west and east walls of the transept consist of reused ashlars. Against the west wall of the transept, a column was placed, which together with the easternmost column of the colonnade formed the western boundary of the transept. The three drums composing the column were found (one of them already placed back) together with a nice Ionic capital that clearly belongs to the Trajanic transformation of the temple. Fragments of doorframes from both the original Augustan and this early second-century A.D. repair were found as well.

The space of the northern transept thus enclosed, has a width of 6.15 m (west-east) and a length of 4.65 m (north-south). It was accessible from the east by means of a doorway (width: 1.17 m) in the east wall of the transept, which would have allowed circulation in the church during the celebration of mass without disturbing the actual celebration. Furthermore, the columns of the colonnades have beam holes cut in them, suggesting the presence of a gallery above the side aisles. Near the northeast corner of the building a 1.10 m high marble bema pier was found, which originally held the plates closing off the chancel or altar area located immediately to the south of the excavated area.

Numerous fragments of marble wall veneer or crustae were retrieved, as well as some stone tesserae of a floor mosaic and glass tesserae of wall mosaics. Against the north and east wall of the transept, some patches of wall plaster were still in situ indicating that these walls were probably decorated with frescos.

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