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July 2003-July 2010InteractiveDig Sagalassos
Philip Bes and Yaprak Özkönü working on the pottery from storage room 2 behind the Macellum
One of the restored local amphorae and a restored jug from storage room 2 behind the Macellum

Fragment of a thus far unknown pottery type (with holes on the shoulder) decoration with Christian motifs (a cross and a bird)

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

Ceramology: July 31-August 4, 2005

The team studying ceramics this week--composed of Philip Bes (KU Leuven) and Senem Özden and Yaprak Özkönü (both Istanbul University)--shifted focus to analysis of the pottery unearthed this year. They mainly concentrated on the material from two excavations that appear most promising, namely two small trenches carried out in and along the great N-S Colonnaded Street, and that found in the Macellum. Although not all deposits have been studied in full detail, some preliminary results seem promising for the earliest and latest development phases at Roman Sagalassos.

The N-S Colonnaded Street

Two small trenches were excavated in the Colonnaded Street. The first was in the western portico, and while the upper layers mainly contained some sixth-seventh century A.D. Sagalassos red slip ware, the layers at a greater depth clearly attested early Roman activity that can tentatively be placed in the second quarter of the first century A.D., roughly during the reign of the emperors Tiberius and Claudius (Phase 1 of the production of Sagalassos red slip ware, ca. 25 B.C.-A.D. 50). A water pipe appears to have been laid out here in the Early Byzantine period, indicated by the presence of pottery typical for this period. The deepest layers also generated pottery that might belong to the first century B.C., although further study of this pottery is required to substantiate this. The second trench is in the street proper, where four pavement slabs were lifted to investigate the original construction and possible later repairs of this central artery of Sagalassos. This delivered equally interesting results, as the pottery found here pointed to a similar date around the second quarter of the first century A.D. No evidence of later work on this part of the street was found. So it seems that building activity took place on a grand scale in this part of the city during the early Imperial period. Whether the entire Colonnaded Street formed was a single operation remains to be seen, but not much later the Lower Agora's eastern portico was constructed as indicated by excavations two years ago, probably during the reign of the emperor Nero or rather the Flavians.

The Macellum

As far as the pottery from the Macellum has been studied it is indicative of the latest phase of the local production of the Sagalassos red slip ware, the so-called Phase 9 (ca. A.D. 550/575-650). Within a triangular room in the westernmost part of the Macellum, a total of seven pithoi (large storage jars) was found of which one had been preserved complete. The other six were found broken, but all fragments have been retrieved enabling their reconstruction. Besides these, several other vessels were found such as four amphorae, also of likely local manufacture and several other smaller vessels such as a cooking pot. Remarkably, among the deposits studied thus far no imported amphorae have been identified. Naturally, the exact nature of the finds deserves further study, with other finds such as metal and glass, within their architectural context in order to determine more specific functions. Considering its function, as a place of commerce, such a collection of finds should perhaps not come as a surprise and might attest that it still functioned in this period, although further excavation will hopefully clarify whether or not the entire Macellum still served the population of Sagalassos then.

The pottery from the two excavations briefly discussed here greatly contributes to the picture of development of the city in both its earliest and latest stages, and that from the Macellum also increases our understanding of Phase 9 of the local production of tableware. The study of the other excavations will start next week, and will hopefully present us with similarly interesting results.

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