Urban Mansion (Domestic Area): Aims 2007
We have conducted excavations in the eastern Domestic Area, a residential district east of the monumental city center, since 1995. The Domestic Area was created during the city's expansion in early Imperial times, outside the early Hellenistic fortifications. During the past 11 excavation seasons we have identified a substantial complex here as a large, late antique urban mansion, belonging to a family from the city's proteuontes, the land-owning provincial aristocracy. Except for its northwestern edge, which was located in 2005 using geophysical techniques, the other corners of this urban villa, spread out over at least three different levels or terraces worked into the natural slope, have not yet been identified. Thus far we have exposed 51 rooms.
The aims for the 2007 season are outlined as follows:
- Extension of the excavation in the northwestern part of the house in order to complete the investigation of Rooms XLV, LI, and IL and to locate the entrance of the mansion, which we believe is north or west of Room XLV. We'll also pay attention to the rooms north of the private bathing unit, both to rooms that we have already identified rooms and to still unidentified rooms located more to the west. If necessary, we will work east of Rooms XLIV and XLVI to see whether or not this part still belonged to the same complex.
- Completion of the excavation of various rooms and spaces, including:
- The eastern half of Room XVI, which was partially excavated in 2000. We will complete the consolidation of the walls and vaults of the corridors on the intermediate level of the house and address the area's general safety condition.
- Restricted test soundings at several locations in the house based on the results of the ongoing architectural and pottery analyses.
- Beneath the Room XVII mosaic, which was removed for conservation in 2004, we will make a small test sounding to document structural features of the mosaic construction and, most of all, to provide further evidence for the mosaic's date, possibly along with previous phases of flooring.
- Extension of the excavation in the southern and lower section of the house. We identified a utilitarian area along with a substantial dining room and a second large room here. Detailed study of the stratigraphy of this area and its architectural remains should reveal the relationship of the possibly different original house units, and how they might have merged. Further excavation should reveal the nature of the floor level in the large rooms and determine how much erosion damage there is. We will do this excavation only if we are unexpectedly blocked from excavating on the northern side.
- Excavate a few more minor sounding trenches to document possible older building phases of the villa.
- Document the collapse and abandonment processes of the early Byzantine villa.
- Continue the contextual analysis of the house and its many rooms.