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July 2003-July 2010InteractiveDig Sagalassos
The flotation system: in the foreground, the first separating and cleaning of the material according to the mesh size of the sieve; in the background, the actual flotation of the seeds and other remains
Floating the plant remains

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

Archaeobotany: July 15-26, 2007

During the 2007 excavation campaign, archaeobotanical work at the site continued with further processing of flotation samples carried out by Dr. Elena Marinova (Center for Archaeological Sciences, K.U. Leuven). The work was intensified by training of a worker use a binocular microscope to help sort the charred plant remains recovered from the site. The macrobotanical material prepared that way will then be studied in the CAS laboratories more quickly.

The most interesting results came from samples from the Colonnaded N-S Street belonging to occupation phase 1 (25 B.C.-A.D. 50), the construction period, which probably can be narrowed to ca. 25 B.C.-A.D. 10. The samples have a wide variety of cultivated and other plants. Most numerous are the remains of bread wheat, a species that demands good cultivation conditions but provides the best quality bread. Previous surveys have suggested that later in the Empire grapes and olives were grown close to the city, the wheat being imported from estates and villages farther away. In the same samples, remains of fruit such as grapes, common fig, and plums were found. The abundant fragments of charred fruit flesh represent in most cases common fig. They most probably represent accidentally burned dry fig fruits.

[image] The flesh of the fig; the charred fruit found at Sagalassos

Complete grape pip


Together with the city of Sagalassos, some samples from Tepe Düzen were analyzed. In most fragments grapes (and once even a complete pip of grape) were found. Because of the small excavated area so far, we can make no conclusions on the importance of grapes, but it should be stressed that during this period (Early Iron Age: see Tepe Düzen July 8-26, 2007) this was a common cultivated plant species. They also were still cultivated, as shown by presses for olives and/or grapes later (high Empire).

The wood charcoal recovered from the city, will be studied later with appropriate equipment at CAS. The analyses will give us insight on the wood used as fuel in the town and indirectly give an idea on the change of woodland vegetation in city's surroundings.

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