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July 2003-July 2010InteractiveDig Sagalassos
The location of the Iron Age settlement on Tepe Düzen
The Colonnaded Street proved to be built upon a massive fill between the hill of the Apollo Klarios shrine and the platform on which stood the Hadrian and Antoninus Pius shrine.
The excavated part of the Odeion seen from the West
The praefurnium in the newly exposed heating room
View of the partly restored west portico of the Macellum
Overview of the residential spaces in the palatial mansion
The valley of Bereket

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

Welcome to the Sagalassos Website 2007

After nearly exactly one year (some recent updates excluded), we are resuming our weekly reports. To summarize briefly the main results of last year, the older site at Tepe Düzen proved to be the Early Iron Age predecessor of Sagalassos (see 2006 Tepe Düzen, July 30-August 10), densely inhabited from the eighth century B.C. at the latest until a (major) abandonment in the course of the fourth century B.C., when some of inhabitants, most probably because of water shortages, moved to the current site. In the mean time, the study of the regional pottery contemporary with Tepe Düzen, has shown that the latter site eventually became the main regional center, undoubtedly with an "urban" character and controlling already a large territory, before it was abandoned.

As for Sagalassos itself, the works on the embellishment and expansion of the site in early Imperial times proved to be more impressive than previously assumed, as the colonnaded N-S street (see 2006 N-S Colonnaded Street, July 10-August 16) was not following a natural ridge, but built upon a massive fill with thousands of cubic meters of stone and earth between the limestone hill carrying the Apollo Klarios shrine and the natural platform with the temple dedicated to the Divine Hadrian and Antoninus Pius. Moreover the fact that further test soundings refined its construction date to the Augustan period turned it into one of the oldest colonnaded streets of Anatolia.

The work in the Odeion suggested that this covered concert hall, which at the west seems to have been interwoven with the masonry of the late Hadrianic fountain's back wall, was part of the same Hadrianic building operation. The beautiful corridor exposed in 2005 was doubled by a second one, containing two stairways: one leading to the VIP box above the vaulted entrance leading to the first corridor from the podium and another one leading to a separate entrance for the VIP's. The interior scaenae frons (stage facade), however, seems to have been added in its current state in the Severan period (late second-early third century A.D.). After a partial collapse, possibly caused by an earthquake around the transition of the fifth to the sixth century A.D., the podium was abandoned and the orchestra's soil raised, and the building most probably henceforth used for with animal and gladiator fights; eventually, it became the dump of a butcher (see 2006 Odeion, July 10-August 10).

Work in the nearby Roman Baths (see 2006 Roman Baths, July 10-August 10) focused on the south side of the complex, where a row of original rooms, consisting of a caldarium or hot water bath with two major bath tubs, and a tepidarium (for half warm water) with a foot bath formed the transition toward the cross-shaped cold-water room or frigidarium I, partially exposed with its mosaic floors in 2005 and this year producing the major find thus far, the head of a colossal marble statue of Hadrian. During the sixth century A.D., when the Kaisersaal (used for representing and worshiping the imperial family) had lost its function and was transformed into a larger caldarium, the new caldarium of 2006 was turned into a heating room, one of the tubs becoming a praefurnium, whereas the tepidarium continued to exist. This means that the baths had a double sequence of caldarium, tepidarium and frigidarium: one along the west and north side (for the women?) and one along the east and south side (for the men?). New dates obtained by AMS radiocarbon dating from bone from the baths now place the major earthquake destroying the city between the late sixth and the earlier seventh century A.D., i.e. nearly a generation earlier than previously assumed.

Near the southeast corner of the Upper Agora, be it at a lower level, the excavations of the Macellum or food market also continued. Several new inscription fragments confirmed a dedication to Commodus and a construction date by a private citizen in the years A.D. 180-191 (see 2006 Macellum, July 10-August 10). The peristyle square was surrounded on three sides by shops (on the west, north, and east sides). Rich finds from the latter, many times transformed in the course of history, showed the prominent function of the building until the early seventh century.

The large palatial mansion on the eastern domestic slopes of the city was further excavated. As we are dealing here with the highest (third to fourth) terrace of the structure--which already has more than 52 rooms--only two rooms at the most can be excavated during a campaign because of the height of the walls and of the debris inside. In 2006, we exposed two magnificent audition halls, one above the other, the upper one being apsidal and most probably the main reception hall of the structure, built in the same solid mortared rubble alternating with brick layers as the rest of the representative complex. The atrium extended still further north, to the east of which at least two other superposed audition halls (?) emerged, to be excavated in 2007 (see 2006 Domestic Area, July 10-August 10). The same ruralization as elsewhere in the building could be noticed also in this part from the later sixth century A.D. onwards, as the lowest audition hall eventually was turned into a storage facility with an earth beaten floor into which dolia (large storage vessels) were sunk. It seems more and more likely that the mansion was abandoned before its final destruction by the late sixth-early seventh century A.D. earthquake.

A major surprise was that the excavation of the Apollo Klarios shrine, during the early sixth century A.D. turned into a basilica with a transept, made clear that at the latest from the ninth century A.D. onward, the church was rebuilt as the center of a hamlet including a graveyard, occupied until the eleventh/twelfth century A.D. and forming together with two other similar hamlets (one on Alexander's Hill possibly around another basilica; one that was fortified within the shrine of Hadrian and Antoninus Pius) a characteristic mid-Byzantine settlement of the kastron type continuing the name and bishopric of Sagalassos until then (see 2006 Apollo Klarios Shrine, July 30-August 10). As the analysis of the pottery in the meantime also produced eighth century ceramics, the question whether Sagalassos was ever abandoned at all after the earthquake ca. A.D. 600 may eventually result into a negative answer and can also be resolved by comparing the DNA of the mid-Byzantine skeletons with the Roman ones.

The archaeozoologists continued their study of more than one million animal bones already, identifying different butchery traditions and studying also the waste disposal throughout the town. The geophysical map of the city continued to be made, and another one was started at Tepe Düzen. Palynological and sedimentological research in the valley of Bereket, the highest valley of the city's territory (ca. 1420 m.a.s.l. produced detailed information on palaeofires (both natural and caused by people) and a very detailed picture of the evolution of vegetation and farming. Olive yards (thus far their highest occurrence) and intensive farming were only introduced under Augustus and continued until the fourth century A.D. A climatic optimum could be determined for that period. A second team of geomorphologists studied the origin of erosion and human impact on it along the major connection between Sagalassos and the plain to the south of Lake Burdur. The geologists made a detailed inventory of all local and regional limestone quarries and their appearance in the city's architecture. The sculpture of the late Hadrianic nymphaeum was studied in detail and three statues were restored. The ceramologists focused on the Early Iron Age and late pottery of the region, on the amphorae and their origin. The glass specialists identified the provenance of the primary glass material and now try to establish at what point Sagalassos became a secondary glass center. At the same time the different steps of producing iron objects from their extraction to the iron artifacts were also studied in detail (for all these topics, see 2006 Material Studies).

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Note: Last year, depending on the discipline or topic, updates were suddenly interrupted by an accident of the Director's closest relative and by his own lower back problems, which required urgent surgical intervention. Our intention to complete our results throughout the academic year proved to be impossible because of a hectic teaching schedule, more health problems of both the Director and his elder relative, which are even keeping him at home for most of this season.


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