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The Apollo Klarios Church at the end of the excavation season
Levelled bedrock encountered in a sounding. In the back is the blocked colonnade
Room 3 seen from the air
Tomb 3: young adult female. Her head and knees are supported by small limestone blocks in order to place her body in a comfortable position.
Overview of the graveyard, with tomb 6 in front, the wall structures crossing the burial ground.
In the foreground is tomb 1, a two-story burial structure, completely excavated in the eroded bedrock. To the south is burial structure 3.
The burial of a child (tomb 2). The structure is consisted of a roof and walls in tiles, while the bottom consist of smaller tile and limestone fragments.

Photos courtesy Sagalassos Archaeological Research Project. Click on images to enlarge.
by Ine Jacobs, Koen Demarsin, Tayfun Işıklar, and Ralf Vandam

The Apollo Klarios Sanctuary: August 12-25, 2007

The "Temple Phase"


The staircase leading in the direction of the Lower Agora

As in previous years (see Apollo Klarios August 14-18 and August 21-25, 2005, July 30-August 3, and August 6-10, 2006), we encountered many architectural fragments from the original temple dedicated to Apollo Klarios during excavation. These included an additional two fragments of the building inscription of A.D. 103-104. However, for the first time since we began excavations inside the church, we uncovered remains possibly belonging to the original temple. Inside the north aisle, we executed a sounding to obtain a date for a later brick floor (see below). Some 0.15 m underneath the later level, a limestone slab was encountered on the same level as the present stylobate of the columns. Limestone bedrock was encountered in a second sounding, executed in the middle aisle of the church, to the south of the northern columnar row and also on the same level as the stylobate. Its flat top surface suggests it was intentionally levelled. In the eastern half of the trench, the bedrock, here consisting of ophiolite, was on a lower level and was more weathered. On the whole, the existence of a larger rock cut surface as a foundation for the temple thus becomes more likely.

Another feature that with a large degree of certainty belongs to the original temple is a staircase connecting the temple-terrace to a cryptoporticus above the Lower Agora, between the terrace walls, or to the Lower Agora itself (total width of 2.15 m, preserved height 0.71 m). Behind the apse of the church, we found the three uppermost steps of this staircase; the others must have been dismantled. As a consequence, the position of the original temple can be estimated, since the staircase was likely located in the central axis of the complex.

The Late Antique Church

The eastern part of the church had largely been uncovered in 2005 and 2006, and all that remained was the excavation of the apse itself. This year, the interior face of its back wall was completely exposed. It was neatly constructed with mortared rubble, with reused architectural blocks only in the corners with the transept walls. In the southern half of the apse, a square opening was present just above the level of its mortar floor (0.59 m high and 0.60 m wide). Inside the apse, the remains of the synthronon (the row of built, stepped seats, on which the clergy sat in the sanctuary conch of a church) were also further exposed. This travertine step-like construction was mainly preserved in the southern half of the apse (to a height of 3 steps or 0.85 m), while in the northern half only the lower step was still present.

In the central aisle of the church, we found the foundation of the ambo. This was constructed with rubble and brick fragments on top of which was poured a thick layer of mortar. The top face of this structure most likely represents the level of the original church floor. Last year, the large open space in the middle of the church was defined as Room 1, whereas the area in the apse was defined as Room 2. This year, excavations uncovered a third space, Room 3, in the northern aisle of the church. Room 3 (ca. 2.80 by 3.90 m large) was bordered on all sides by walls constructed in between the columns and the back wall of the northern aisle. This last wall was again double faced. The outer face was constructed with reused architectural fragments of the temple, but the inner one was composed out of a combination of large architectural fragments and smaller rubble blocks. Though the last are concentrated in the higher layers, large building blocks were also inserted at higher levels. In comparison to the interior faces of the walls of the transept, the construction of this northern wall is more irregular. This would however, been largely hidden by a plaster layer, of which remains were still found in some locations. The other walls of the room were constructed with mortared rubble, laid in irregular rows.

After construction of these walls, a brick floor was installed inside the room. The bricks (0.39 by 0.39 by 0.045 m) were positioned in almost regular rows. These bricks were more than likely reused, as many of them had corners or sides missing. The joints between them were filled with a white mortar. In the northeast and southeast corner of the room some bricks were missing. Their presence was still attested by negative prints in the substratum as well as by a line of white mortar against the walls. As we found no remains of bricks during excavation, they must have been removed in antiquity.

The wall bordering the room to the west and an additional wall in the south, connecting the second and third columns of the colonnade, were only constructed afterward, as they are positioned on top of the brick floor. The western wall of the room was again constructed with rubble, this time positioned in regular horizontal rows. The original entrance to the room might have been situated in its southern wall. At the moment of excavation, a rubble wall was also present at this location. It was however very badly preserved and might have been originally not much higher than it is now.

Finally, to the west of the third column, another wall departed in western direction. This suggests that the northern colonnade was completely blocked and divided into smaller rooms.

Later Alterations


A relief fragment found in the collapse layers

In addition, some remains that without any doubt belong the later occupation phases of the church comprised two N-S orientated walls situated in the central aisle. A tuff wall of one block thick and preserved two blocks high (0.42 m) was constructed in the north of the church. This runs parallel to a similar wall already excavated. In the center of the middle aisle, it is interrupted by an open space that is 2.70 m wide, after which it continues until the southern colonnade. The construction method of all these walls, with integration of tuff blocks, indicates the space was covered by a roof structure, as tuff quickly deteriorates when exposed to outside weather conditions. However, the amount of tile fragments found in the collapse was not sufficient to represent a complete tile roof. Either the tiles were taken away to again be reused at another location, or the area was covered by a roof in less-permanent materials.

Again, the floor of the middle aisle was completely robbed out, as was that of the bema area and both transept. A new floor was never installed. Instead, on top of the older substratum underneath the church floor, we found a thin clayish layer of soil.

The Cemetery


A young adult male buried in Tomb 5. The position of the right arm, touching the shoulder and the left arm laid over the stomach, is a feature we encountered in different grave structures.

The area South of the basilica of Apollo Klarios was investigated for the first time during the campaign of 2005. The excavations revealed three rooms orientated east-west and three tombs. This campaign we continued in the sectors east of the 2005 excavation area. Within the excavation area different remnants of wall structures were present. Most were east-west orientated, following the basilica. It is remarkable that of all the walls, only the foundations or the foundation fills were present. The explanation for this remarkable characteristic can be found in the construction of the cemetery. In the area where the tombs were erected, the walls were apparently removed completely or up to foundation level. This modification represents an important chronological indication, because it indicates that the walls were given up in favor of a planned cemetery development. Moreover, we also possess some direct indications for later construction of the graveyard: several tombs make use of the remains of the wall foundations as a part of their alignments. Tomb 1 and tomb 5 both are aligned to an east-west orientated wall crossing the excavation area. The tile alignment of tomb 2, abuts this same wall in the south. Tomb 4 incorporates a tuff block of another foundation wall, and tomb 7 cuts a north-south orientated wall.

Thanks to some more precise chronological indications, we are able to obtain a more detailed picture of the site's evolution. In a layer cut by tomb 6, we found part of a bipedale. This tile, most likely originates from the Roman Baths. It may have reached the site of Apollo Klarios at earliest after the earthquake around the transition from the sixth to the seventh century. As tomb 6 is constructed within this layer, it must have been built after that date. Another indication comes from the burials themselves. From the different burial fills, we collected a considerable amount of tesserae. This attests that the graveyard must have been developed after the church had lost its mosaic decoration. However, the burying of the bodies must have happened before the church collapsed, because we found large and small ashlars soil covering some tombs. In this abandonment period, also the distortion of different tombs must have taken place. The bottoms of burials 5 and 6 seem to originate from a complete different construction phase. They were formed by large limestone plates, resembling floor slabs. This stone floor was also present more to the west, in tomb 2 excavated in 2005. The floor doesn't seem to have any connection with the walls, nor with the construction of the basilica. Most likely this level is connected with a much earlier phase, which is the construction of the Apollo temple itself. Hence we are able establish the chronological evolution of the site south of the basilica: 1) the floor-phase, 2) construction of the walls, 3) modification of the walls and of the interior of the basilica, 4) occupation of the cemetery, and 5) abandonment of the cemetery, collapse of the church and distortion of the graves.

While excavating the cemetery, we encountered many tombs within a small area. In about 40 square meters, we could distinguish eight tombs and 12 individuals. Also the diversity within the layout of the tombs is remarkable. Most made use of the natural substrate for its construction. Tomb 1 is completely cut out in the opheolite, and contained two burial levels on top of each other, separated by a rim. Also completely cut out is tomb 7, but with only one level. Also tombs 3 and 4 reach the bedrock, but their sides are aligned with a mixture of tiles and rubble stones. Another tomb (2) was made completely out of tile fragments. Tombs 5 and 6 are constructed much more orderly than the other ones, with an alignment of limestone rubble blocks. However, none of the tombs is richly elaborated and we found no grave goods. All of the bodies were facing the east, except the child from burial 7, which was facing the west. Most of the skeletons were found in their primary position, only tombs 1, 4, and 7 were partly disturbed. Besides a better knowledge of the burial practices, we will gain a better knowledge of the anthropological data from the ancient inhabitants. (See Paleoanthropology.)

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