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July 2003-July 2010InteractiveDig Sagalassos
Excavation of Room LI (left) and of the lime kiln in Atrium XLVI (right)
View of Atrium XLV, with the nymphaeum and lime kiln from the southwest; at the background is Corridor LVIII
View on the mosaic floor of LVIII from the north
View of the mosaic floor of room LVIII from the southeast. On top of the floor is one of the collapsed arches.

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

The Urban Mansion: August 12-25, 2007

During the last weeks of the campaign the team under the direction of Inge Uytterhoeven (K.U.Leuven) and archaeologists Sevgi Gercek (Mimar Sinan Ueniversitesi) and Rob Rens (K.U.Leuven) focused exclusively on excavating Atrium XLV, Corridor LVIII North of the atrium, and Room LI. In all of these spaces the last remaining collapse material was removed.


View of Atrium XLV, with the impluvium, nymphaeum, and lime kiln from the south

After we had already excavated the southern part of Atrium XLV with impluvium in 2005 and 2006, we reached the purple schist pavement now all over the room. The atrium turned out to be a large rectangular space (11.5 by 6.93 m), bordered on the north and south by two windows and two windows and a door (leading to Staircase XXXVI), respectively, which were all covered with brick arches. A monumental door flanked by two windows in the east wall gave out on audience hall XLVI, while another window in the north connected the atrium with Room LI. A gallery of three arches flanked this east wall from north to south. On the west, Room XLVI was accessible by means of a large door that was later blocked, and two limestone steps farther norths led to the east-west running Corridor LIX (excavated part: 2.80 m long and 2.6 m wide). In the atrium's northwest corner was a private nymphaeum (2.1 by 1.35 m), provided with three small niches. Moreover, the eastern parapet had an overflow in the shape of a lion head. The rubble/brick walls of the atrium were decorated with marble revetment, which in combination with the monumental architecture and the purple pavement must have given the space a very impressive character.


View of Room LI (left), Atrium XLV, and Corridor LVIII (right) from the northwest. The conservation team is cleaning the mosaic in LVIII.

Corridor LVIII in the north (7.56 m long and 2.8 m wide), from which the two large arched windows gave a view inside the atrium, turned out to be equally luxurious. Piers in tuff/brick masonry carrying brick arches were constructed against the rubble north wall. Given the large amount of marble crustae of various types and colors (red, purple, yellow, white, and beige) found in the collapse/destruction layers, this room was also completely decorated with marble. In addition, the floor was paved with a nice mosaic "carpet" in black, white, purple, and orange, representing central guilloche motifs, bordered by bead-and-reels that were lined by chevrons. While few fragments were preserved in situ in the east part of the room, the western half of the floor was in a good state of preservation. Farther west the design of the mosaic changed into squares, indicating a new room (our Room LX!), which, however, we could not investigate this year (excavated part: 0.5 by 3.47 m).

The end point of Corridor LVIII was the imposing Room LI (6.0 by 4.9 m), which was accessed through a door with a rather well preserved brick arch and whose rubble walls originally carried a tuff vault of ca. 5.5 m high. In the south wall, two high brick arches were constructed, both carried by a central pier in tuff/brick. Also in this room many pieces of the rich marble decoration were found. However, the original floor, presumably in opus sectile, was not preserved.


View of Corridor LVIII with the mosaic floor from the west. In the background is the door leading to Room LI.

After the earthquake that struck Sagalassos in the mid-seventh century A.D. had partly destroyed the mansion, a lime kiln consisting of a heating chamber in mortared rubble (1.56 by 1.33) and a circular structure (1.65 by 1.73m) were built on top of the collapse material in the northern part of the atrium. The circular kiln was partly built on top of the north wall's eastern window and partly constructed with large limestone blocks. A second, smaller kiln was constructed to the west and partially on top of the central tuff/brick pier built against the north wall of Corridor LVIII (1.12 by 1.05 m).

In this way the excavation season of 2007 was for us a very fruitful one. It not only revealed some new spaces, which belonged to the most richly decorated ones of the urban mansion, but gave us also a better insight in the arrangement of the building in various terraces and allowed us to define the--possible--western border of the building (cf. Web reports 1 and 2). Moreover, the limekiln in the atrium and the kiln in Corridor LVIII evidence human activity after the partial destruction of the once rich mansion.

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