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July 2003-July 2010InteractiveDig Sagalassos
A concentration of antler refuse fragments from the Macellum shows that objects were made from this type of raw material.
An antler fragment with traces (above) of sawing.

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

Archaeozoology: August 7-11, 2005

As the analysis of the faunal remains continues, it becomes clear that the numerous bone finds at the Macellum are yielding the most interesting information thus far. During the last two weeks, an increasing amount of animal bones were retrieved from this ancient market place. Also the material that has been picked out from the sieved residues seems to be very promising, especially in room 2 (a reused sacellum?, see Macellum, August 7-11, 2005) with its large amounts of fish and bird bones. A destruction layer, dated by the archaeologists to the Early Byzantine period, contains the consumption refuse of the typical domestic food animals (cattle, sheep, goat, pig, chicken). Among them, bones from sheep and goats are the most abundant, a phenomenon that has been observed previously in contemporary contexts at Sagalassos. This confirms the pattern in animal food consumption through time that was established earlier.

The assemblage from an underlying layer of the Macellum clearly represents another series of depositional events. The material is not only less fragmented and much better preserved, it also indicates that specialized craft activities must have taken place in this area. This is shown by the presence of several horn cores from goat and by the many remains of antler. The latter are no finished objects, but represent refuse from working. This is the first time that such a concentration of antler refuse has been found at Sagalassos. Elsewhere in town isolated pieces of this kind were found thus far only occasionally. The end products of the antler working, among which an object interpreted as a hinge, are equally rarely represented in the material excavated since 1991. While it remains unclear thus far what type of objects were manufactured from deer antler, we do know already why bone was worked at the site. A large concentration of bone-working refuse and half-finished objects (about 1,500 pieces) had been found previously in the fill thrown inside the Library. In that case it was possible to establish that particular long bones of cattle were preferentially used and that they served as the raw material for the production of needles, hairpins, and spoons. As the many intermediate stages in the production were represented in the refuse, it was possible to establish exactly how these bone objects were made. Hopefully, more antler refuse--and objects made from this material--will turn up in the future. This should then allow us to shed more light on this additional artisanal activity in town.

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