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July 2003-July 2010InteractiveDig Sagalassos
The NW Heroon dominates the entire site and the valley below.
The building site of the NW Heroon, with Süleyman Ayan's crane placing the naiskos' tendril friezes on the north side in their final position. To the right, the Doric Temple, with the Bouleuterion's seats to its left. In the background, the gigantic remains of the Roman Baths, and to its right, the Lower Agora. One of the most striking visual results of the 2006 campaign is that the city's excavated segments are gradually joining one another, giving us an excellent idea of the urban fabric.
One of the naiskos' tendril blocks, still to be completed
The new pantograph tables for training local workmen, including Oezkan Tasteki
The central arch, which supported the limestone roof slabs of the Heroon
Architects try to make sense of the dozens of fragments belonging to the Heroon's roof slabs.

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

Northwest Heroon: July 9-27, 2006

During the fifth week of the Heroon anastylosis (July 9-13), the team got a boost from the arrival of architect Tom Verbist, who has been working on the project for many years with Ebru Torun and Piraye Haciguezeller. Tom concentrated on investigating and documenting the roof structure. He completed one-to-one drawings of the ashlars of the upper courses, the tendril frieze, the architrave, and the fluted frieze blocks (Pfeiffenfries), and began drawings of the roof slabs.

According to the evidence found at the site, these impressive limestone slabs spanned more than 1.5 meters, and were braced by the south fronton, the naiskos walls, and an arch in the center of the naiskos walls, without any other intermediate supporting structures. Although many of the roof slabs have been lost, a significant number of small, yet recognizable, fragments have been found during the excavations, and a few of the slabs survived the earthquake almost entirely intact, providing us with enough evidence to understand the support system that was used. This week, many of the fragments were counted and measured, and at the moment they are being studied, in order to match pieces together and discover their original position in the monument.

Since the beginning of the campaign, a new technique for recording the building blocks, and our interventions on them, has been developed. Manual drawings of the blocks are juxtaposed with digital images of the same stone faces using AutoCAD 2006. Although the technique still needs to be refined, it appears to be a very effective system of 3-D documentation for anastylosis projects.

Besides investigating and documenting the roof system, we also proceeded with re-building the monument. The tendril frieze course was installed at the north facade of the monument. By the end of the week, we completed the fine levelling adjustments of the southeast corner of the naiskos. We also prepared all of the vertical connections ("dowels") that would be needed to join the courses of the tendril frieze of the naiskos to the architrave and fluted frieze blocks of the entablature. All of these original blocks have been repaired and are now ready to be returned to their original places.

[image] Left, the north side of the Heroon after the final placement of the naiskos' tendrils. Right, the naiskos' southeast corner, being prepared to carry the door lintel [image]

Our stone carvers finished four supplemental pieces using the pantograph, and these were fitted to the original blocks. The faces of three supplemental blocks, which belong to the tendril frieze and architrave courses, were also levelled and finished by the stone carvers. At the end of the week, architecture students briefly joined the Heroon team and started to document the few voussoirs of the arch. During the following weeks, it should be possible to set up the first on-site trial of the roof structure.

During the sixth week, the Northwest Heroon anastylosis went according to schedule. Work on the building itself focused on the south facade, where differences in levels, caused by heavy erosion, were mended. Stones were placed, controlled, lifted again, and adjusted in order to be able to place them in their final position next week. Additionally, several blocks from the naiskos' tendril frieze and the entablature's architrave, frieze, and cornice were prepared for installation. The stones were checked, vertical connections were prepared, and cracks were stitched and sealed with pink mortar, which matched the natural limestone color.

The stone carvers were busy last week, trying to complete several stones from the naiskos' tendril frieze and the entablature's architrave and frieze. Several new stone blocks were bought and transported from the city of Isparta to the site, so currently, the team has all of the raw materials necessary to complete the naiskos' tendril frieze, and the entablature's architrave and frieze. In order to cope with the considerable amount of pantograph work involved, the team started preparing a new pantograph table for a stone carver for the Antonine Nymphaeum team, who will join us next week.

Meanwhile, we continued the documentation work. Existing drawings were carefully checked, and team members and architects made additional drawings where necessary.

Finally, the stone platforms around the monument were explored with great care, in search of new blocks from the central arch and roof fragments. Our efforts were rewarded, as two more arch blocks and three more roof fragments were discovered. Then, the arch was studied, incorporating these new pieces. According to the restitution drawings, only three arch blocks are still missing. The newly discovered roof fragments fitted with five fragments that had already been found, increasing our knowledge of that particular part of the building.

During the seventh week, work steadily progressed on the Northwest Heroon under supervision of architect Ebru Torun, assisted by architects Piraye Haciguezeller and Tom Verbist. After the extensive preparations and trials last week, the ashlars on the south of the building were put in place and fixed. Currently, all ashlar walls can now be viewed in their final positions.

Meanwhile, Mustafa Özkavak, one of our Cappadocian stone carvers, who had been working on the Antonine Nymphaeum until this week, arrived to help us. He is particularly familiar with the pantograph, and lent his expertise to carving the missing pieces of the building's higher courses. By the end of the week, the stone carvers were joined by one of our local regular workmen, Özkan Tastekin, who completed the simpler blocks. Thanks to these men, it was possible to finish two more complex architrave blocks, continue work on a third one, and begin to complete a frieze stone. In the mean time, the team's senior stone carver, Mustafa Sir, used his talent on the profiles of a completely new architrave block, whose fasciae (stepped subdivisions) were separated by plain astragals (round profiles).

[image] Left, chief stone carver Mustafa Sir from Cappadocia starts to carve a completely new architrave block from the Heroon's entablature. The face and profile are on the left side. Right, local worker Özkan Tastekin's stone carving skills have gradually became apparent. Here, he starts to complete a broken fluted frieze, or Pfeiffenfries, from the Heroon's upper entablature [image]

Furthermore, regular preparation work around the building--such as stitching, gluing, and preparing dowel holes--as well as the completion of drawings, proceeded as usual.

Last but not least, progress has been made in the restitution of the arch that carries the roof slabs. In fact, the team succeeded in completing the entire eastern part, including the keystone, with the original blocks. On the western side of the arch, we are only missing two voussoirs. These recent discoveries attest the exceptional craftsmanship and intricate detail of the Heroon, and they are a great step toward our final aim: finishing the anastylosis of the monument, using as much of the original material as possible.

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