Home | Archaeology Magazine | More Digs | AIA
Archaeology's Interactive Dig
July 2003-July 2010InteractiveDig Sagalassos
The lowest level reached inside the entrance hall. On the right, the northern arched passageway
The easternmost door of the stage building emerges, only missing its lintel
The Odeion excavation toward the end of the week

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

Odeion: August 14-18, 2005

In the second week of the campaign at the Odeion, our team, supervised by Bart De Graeve and Ertug Ergürer, continued digging in the well preserved entrance hall in the building's southeast corner. At the end of the first week they had reached, inside the hall, a level of 3.5 m below surface toward the east, so they started excavating the western part of it, also removing the debris below the two arched gateways. Practical problems of removing debris in the entrance hall forced us to open a sector west of the western archway. This area seemed to be an interesting part of the Odeion, too, because the corner of the podium and the scene building are situated there. In fact, the western vaulted archway that was always visible (see Odeion, August 7-11, 2005), must have opened upon the podium. Soon these expectations came true. Immediately, a door was discovered in the south wall of the building. The doorway is rectangular, smaller than the arched passages of the entrance hall, but preserved at full height. The two vertical doorposts have nice undecorated moldings that are damaged only at the top, where they were emerging a bit above surface. Unfortunately, the door lintel is no longer in its original place but some pieces of it were found at a lower level. This door was not a public entrance as the other ones, but part of the stage front. Only musicians and actors could use it and usually it gave no direct access to the outside.

This discovery seems to imply that there must have been a scene building behind this door, south of the wall that we considered until now to have been the facade of the Odeion. The position of the Hadrianic Nymphaeum, though, causes problems for this interpretation because its west corner touches the southwest corner of the current facade of the Odeion, creating a wedge-shaped space in between the two structures. Therefore, it is impossible that the stage building of the Odeion could extend over the whole length of its facade. Further investigations are required to resolve this question, but as the ancient caravan road to Isparta covers most of this area, it will be very difficult, if not impossible to do so.

In the second half of this week, the team concentrated on the southeast corner of the podium in and of the stage building in front of the western arch. At the end, the team reached a depth of 1.50 to 2.50 m in this area. At all levels lots of architectural elements were found, especially architraves and cornices. Fortunately the erosion fill was not as thick as in the entrance hall, so this more interesting level was reached quickly. Not only the usual pottery fragments were found, but also a considerable quantity of bone, marble veneer, fresco fragments, and even part of a mosaic. Probably this is a late antique dump of the sixth-seventh century A.D., when the Odeion was no longer in use.

As a larger part of the stage wall and its eastern door were uncovered during the last two days of the week, it became possible to have a look at the construction methods and possible later interventions. This had interesting results. While the entrance hall is a homogenous construction with very big ashlars that are nicely worked, the scene wall is less well made and shows clear signs of repair. Especially around the entrance a lot of small and rather irregular blocks were used and even some bricks. A pink plaster that in some spots was still in place once covered this. Another late intervention was noticed in the door. In fact, the passage seems to have been blocked at a later moment by a rubble wall reaching as high as 1.20 m below the lintel.

We can now establish at least three building phases for the Odeion, but it is too early to give a good interpretation and dating for it. We hope that the excavation next week will bring more clues for doing this.

Previous pageNext page

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

Home | Archaeology Magazine | More Digs | AIA