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July 2003-July 2010InteractiveDig Sagalassos
Aerial view of the Macellum excavation. Above, the central room with its "niche" of the western wing. Behind (below) it, triangular room 2, which functioned as a storage facility full of dolia, amphorae, and cooking vessels. To the right of it, the incompletely excavated room 3 with lots of metal finds
The excavation reaches the lower levels of the central room in the Macelleum's west wing.
View from inside the excavated room toward its entrance. On the left, one of the original flanking piers, made of two adjoining parts, one still on the original pedestal. The stylobate carries two reused columns standing on square socles.
Fragment of the dedication by [a son of At]talos, grandson of Telemachos, found inside the Macellum
The oinophoros fragment with a dancing person

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

Macellum: August 7-11, 2005

The team directed by Julian Richard (KULeuven) and Mustafa Kiremitçi (Dokuz Eylul University, Izmir) continued the excavation of the Macellum (food market) of Sagalassos dated to A.D. 167 and dedicated to the emperor Marcus Aurelius. The work carried out allows to reconstruct more precisely both the layout and the function of the complex excavated for the past three weeks.

Thus far, we have been focusing on a 25 m large space located in the central part of the west wing of the complex, which had been tentatively identified as one of the shops, and whose layout has been presented last week (see Macellum, July 31-August 4). It had already become clear, that although completely reconstructed in late antiquity, the layout of the room no longer allow its identification as a mere "shop." In fact, it became clear that the front of the room, toward the tholos of the Macellum was composed of two piers flanking two central columns. The still incompletely excavated "niche" in the central part of the back wall suggested an original use as a sacellum (shrine?), of which the later reconstruction still respected the original layout. Inside this room, our team of workmen removed more than 2 meters of earth, so that eventually the lower part of the room came to light. The square, reused bases on which stand both reused central columns (one smooth, one of the Doric order), as well as the richly molded pedestals of the rectangular piers flanking them, and the stylobate that carries them, together forming the front of the room, are now visible. Both piers and stylobate clearly belong to the first building phase of the Macellum. The northern pier of the entrance, composed of two parts, is completely preserved, although the upper part now lies in front of the lower one. Together, they allow reconstructing the height of the original front of the room, below its entablature, at 3.30 m. Also noticeable is that the back wall's central niche did not continue as far as the floor level, but formed a bench-like structure, possibly the lower part of a built in cupboard made of wooden shelves. Holes mentioned two weeks ago in the two sections of the back wall that are framing the niche, were most probably designed for the same purpose, as their different heights towards the floor seem to exclude that they once held beams carrying an upper wooden floor.

Although the niche, may thus have served in its final stage a pure vernacular purpose, the whole layout of the room and especially its open columnar and piered facade respectively do not exclude that it imitates a similar niche in the original structure of A.D. 167 and that of the latter's facade only the original columns had been replaced by reused ones.. An original function as a sacellum could also be suggested by the fact that an upper fragment of a statue base dedicated by a [son of At]talos, grandson of Telemachos to a divinity (as shown by the dedication as euchèn), whose name is no longer preserved, was found inside the room. As this room formed the central part of the west smaller wing and not of the main north wing of the Pi-shaped portico surrounding the Macellum's courtyard, it is unlikely that this divinity could have been the emperor himself. As the latter was still alive, when the construction was inaugurated in A.D. 167 and not yet made divine the dedication euxèn cannot refer to him. If there ever was a statue of the emperor on display in the complex it will either have stood in the central tholos or in a similar sacellum in the center of the north wing. The presence of a potential 'shrine' in one of the lateral wings of the portico suggests that it had a counterpart in the opposing wing as well. If the pedestal fragment does belong to the original sculptural display of the Macellum, one could expect that it carried the statue of a divinity connected with the food production or trade, such as Demeter or Hermes. Both would perfectly fit as occupants of shrines in the lateral wings.

The material recovered in the shop was even more abundant than the two previous weeks. Remarkable was a large lion's head found behind the southern column of the entrance. It is approximately 0.45 m high and 0.50 m wide and was probably reused as a spolium in one of the walls. Although the original shape (certainly freestanding) and date could not yet be established, the morphology of the head looks rather archaizing. The excavation yielded an impressive quantity of ceramic and bone material. Noticeable in the first category were fragments of an oinophoros (pilgrim flask) decorated with a dancing person playing a musical instrument. The recovered material mostly belongs to phases 8 and 9 of the locally produced Sagalassos red slip ware (mid. fifth-mid seventh centuries A.D.) The huge amount of bone yielded by the excavation was also particularly outstanding. The first analysis carried out by the team of archaeozoologists, directed by Wim Van Neer, indicated that the remains where mostly those of pigs, goats, sheep, and bovines (see Archaeozoology, August 7-11, 2005). The presence of a large quantity of jaws and horns shows that we are most probably dealing with a dump. Such deposits belonging to the last century of the city's occupation, were also found during previous campaigns in a shop of the Lower Agora as well as in the North-East Gate in Sagalassos. The stratigraphy tells us that the shop was progressively filled in with dumped material before its roof collapsed, as indicated by the position of a tile layer at a much higher location in the stratigraphy. The residue analysis to be carried out on sherds as well as the flotation of soil samples, which produced abundant macrobotanical remains, will help us to complete in the following weeks this already substantial contextual information regarding the final use of the room.

[image]The archaizing lion's head found in the Macellum

Toward the end of the week and on the following Sunday small excavations were carried out in the shop to reach the layer underlying the actual floor level, in order to recover ceramic evidence informing us about the different building phases of the Macellum. A sondage along the stylobate of the facade inside the room produced a white mortar layer, whereas another excavation in the room's northwestern corner still contained a rubble mixed set in similar white mortar. Both excavations however did not produce any finds below the mortar layer, where one immediately reached the natural bedrock.

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