Home | Archaeology Magazine | More Digs | AIA
Archaeology's Interactive Dig
July 2003-July 2010InteractiveDig Sagalassos

Map of the mansion with the location of the excavations

View of the new courtyard XLV with the door in the left wall giving access to the unexcavated room XLVI. The wall in the foreground is the south wall of the courtyard with, on the left, the filled up arch and, to the right, the springing of two real arches, opening toward the stepped corridor. The waiting lounge of the reception hall can be seen in the background.
Bones and other waste material retrieved from the waste collector by means of flotation
Early Byzantine lamp found in the waste collector of the dining (?) room

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

Domestic Area: July 17-21, 2005

The team directed by Inge Uytterhoeven and Ine Jacobs continued their excavation of the upper story in the northeast corner of the fourth-fifth-century A.D. palatial mansion. The excavations of the last years (see reports 2003 and 2004) exposed a series of large rooms here that had a separate entrance from the street and must have fulfilled a "semi-official" function. They consisted of a large "reception hall" that, together with two almost identical rooms to the north of it (see report 2004), formed the mansion's eastern boundary. The reception hall was preceded on the west by a waiting lounge and a vestibule, both paved with nice mosaics. The vestibule could be reached by means of a corridor with a staircase made of purple schist slabs that seems to have lead directly to the street. The corridor's north wall consisted of vaulted recesses or vaults, of which only the easternmost one had been fully excavated. A small window in the recess brought in light from an open space to the north of it. At the moment, our excavations are focusing on this space in order to establish whether or not it still was part of the palatial mansion. This week's excavations confirmed that this was the case and that the whole complex contains at least 47 rooms.

In fact, this space (XLV) north of the stepped corridor seems to be another courtyard of which the total dimensions can not yet be established. At the moment, this space is formed by at least three brick arches (with a 2.15 m span) on the south and at least two arches with the same dimensions on the east. The latter, as well as the easternmost arch on the south, had been filled in (at a later stage?), so that they form arched recesses. The southern recess of the east wall is in poor condition but can probably be preserved. On the south side of the courtyard, the filled up eastern arch is badly damaged but still standing, while only the springing of the vault remains of the others. However, our conservation team will try to reconstruct them, since this seems to be the best way to rescue what is left. In the east wall of the courtyard, made of brick, mortared rubble, and regular tuffo blocks, the two arched recesses are separated from one another by a door opening with a large limestone lintel. This door gave access to a new room (space XLVI) on the same level as the reception quarters of the mansion but completely separated from them. The floor level of courtyard XLV must be located at an intermediate level, so that a number of steps can be expected in front of the entrance to room XLVI. This week, the most remarkable find from this area was a probably fourth-fifth-century A.D. fragment of a ceramic mold for a large dining plate (?) representing at least three rows of arcades with Ionic capitals (see find of the week). Each arch seems to have housed a divinity. Only the god in the central arcade could be clearly identified as Apollo kitharedos (with a cythara).

Meanwhile, in the southern part of the ground floor of the mansion, our conservation team discovered a rectangular void in the wall separating two large rooms XL and XLIII. It must have functioned as a waste collector for XL, which with its north wall full of large niches (see report 2003) has tentatively been identified as a dining room. A large opening (about 0.50 x 0.15 m) in the room's northwest corner made it possible to sweep food and other remains into the waste collector. A second opening was located in the northeast corner of the collector, at the bottom level of the void. Most probably, it connected to the sewage system of the house. This collector contained a large amount of animal bones, especially cranium and jaw fragments, metal objects (e.g. small knives and one large knife, a finger key, and a sieve fragment) and one completely preserved oil lamp. We collected soil samples for flotation of botanical remains. Throwing food remains on the floor was common practice in antiquity, after which the floor would be cleaned with large amounts of water. The fact that the oil lamp can be dated to the (later sixth or) seventh century A.D. offers yet another indication for the long use of the urban mansion, at that moment already subdivided into three to four smaller units, and the continuing dining function of room XL. During its final stages, one of the niches in the north wall had a painted Chi-Rho (Christos) inside a wreath (see report 2003).

[image]The waste collector in the northwest corner of dining (?) room XL
Previous pageNext page

InteractiveDig is produced by ARCHAEOLOGY Magazine
© 2010 Archaeological Institute of America

Home | Archaeology Magazine | More Digs | AIA