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July 2003-July 2010InteractiveDig Sagalassos
View from the north of caldarium III (II) during the fifth week. In the foreground, the vaulted praefurnium (heating place) built on top of the foundations of an original hot water tub is visible.
The south wall of the baths being exposed
Caldarium III seen from the west during the sixth week; on the right, the late constructions.
The enormous destruction of the southwest corner of caldarium III
The ends of two feet from a statue of a female standing on a base below the mosaic
Detail of the two feet wearing a simple sandal. At the back the dowel holes for attaching them to a dress (?) are visible
The small structure built against the southeast corner of the Baths

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

Roman Baths: August 4-16, 2007

Roman Baths 1

At the beginning of the fifth week of excavation, the RB1 team, led by Marie Lefere and Aude Goovaerts (K.U.Leuven) and Hasan Uzunöglu (MSGSU, Istanbul) started taking down the area in tepidarium II that was left for crane use last year. At the same time, they further exposed the possible water channel in caldarium III between the bottom of the hypocaust floor and a potentially later structure set up against the south wall. The water channel can be situated a bit lower than the bottom the floor and might even belong to an earlier phase. It's eastern end is blocked by another later structure that we cannot yet identify. However, the water channel itself seems to end with a brick wall. In the middle the channel seems to be blocked by another brick-and-mortar structure possibly of the same date as the other later structures. These later structures all seem to be of the same building material, tiles and brick of all sizes but most of them broken and fragmented pedals (bricks 40 by 40 cm and 5 cm thick). One structure is quite high and was originally built against the interior part of the south wall. However, in a later phase this interior part was removed--for as yet unknown reasons--leaving a small walking space between the south wall and this block. The other structures can be situated at floor level and of these mostly only the mortar has been preserved, however traces of the fragmented pedalis can still be seen. In seldom cases even large bipedalis (tiles of 70 by 70 cm) were used.

In the meantime, the south wall was further exposed toward the eastern rooms of the complex and we found a corner fragment, which made a possible link with the most southern pillar of the frigidarium I. This top part of the wall looks like the wall located near the Lower Agora, so we checked to see if there was a difference in height between the two. According to the measurements there is a difference of approximately 0.5 m, so they can belong to the same original building phase. At this part of the wall, some of the ashlars have markings on them. These markings are only found at the outside part of the stone and consist of three different symbols, one of them looks like a "P" and this can be seen on three of them, each time in a different direction. Another marking looks like "P" with a "V" attached to its right side and this can be seen on two of the ashlars and the last symbol looks like two "P"'s of which one is upside down and again a "V" attached to it, but now on the left side. This symbol can be found on only one of the wall ashlars. They should probably be seen as quarry marks.

We made a test sounding at the western corner of the baths to try and find out how the wall and its foundations continue. This sounding was carried out at a part of the south wall, where the earthquake removed an ashlar, so that a nice profile could be made. The sounding revealed that we have not yet reached the bottom level of the baths. Also, the foundations of the wall and floor seem to be quite complex and consist more or less of mortar and irregular limestone blocks. At the same time, underneath the hypocaust floor a curved three-rowed brick wall was found, continuing in a curve toward the eastern parts of the complex. Next to it a hollow space of approximately 2 m can be seen. This curved wall might be a support for the corner of the south wall of the complex as this part of the baths is the most vulnerable due to the steep slope on which it is built.

During the sixth week, we continued work in the tepidarium II area and the two RB teams joined together in order to expose as much of this room as possible. One team further excavated inside the building. The other, led by Christine Beckers and Willem Hantson (K.U.Leuven) and Mustafa Kiremitçi (Dokuz Eylül Universitesi of Izmir), focused mainly on the south wall itself, in order to see the link between the wall and the pillars, as a blocked entrance between the two pillars was found earlier. In this part we uncovered the southern exterior wall, which was also part of a small room just west of the northwestern and southwestern pillar. After removing the topsoil and erosion layer the team uncovered a third layer, characterized by a concentration of finds, mostly ceramics, animal bones, glass, metal, and crustae (marble wall veneer). Lots of charcoal was concentrated along the north wall of this small room. Also in this concentration the palm of the hand of a statue was discovered. It was about 0.30 m high and 0.20 cm wide. The function of this small room remains unknown.

In the tepidarium II area itself, we found a large wood concentration between two collapse layers. Part of it was sampled by the conservation team, the rest is still in situ and awaits excavation. The concentration itself consisted of large pieces of light brown wood and continued along the whole sector. It probably originated from a beam as it could be found in a rather straight line. The rest of the layer is again the collapse layer with the same finds such as brick. However, in this part more crustae and architectural fragments seem to appear, even some crustae with parts of inscriptions on them. One of the collapse layers in this part of the tepidarium seems to exist of only large irregular limestone blocks and bricks, which again tells us more about the exact collapse of this part of the building.

Roman Baths 2

During the fifth week, the second team working in the Roman Baths (RB 2), led by Christine Beckers and Willem Hantson (K.U.Leuven) and Mustafa Kiremitçi (Eylül Universitisi, Izmir) finished the excavations in the southeastern part of the Roman baths (frigidarium 1). We reached the mosaic floor over the whole trench, the area between the four southernmost pillars of the "southern six piered hall." Several parts of the mosaic were broken by the collapse of the room's concrete vault. The floor consisted of black and white irregular (tesserae( that formed geometric motifs. The pattern of the mosaic could be divided in three main zones. The first zone was the area between the niches between the pillars and the wall, the second was the in front of the niches, and the third was the border that runs around the central area. Just as in the exposed western sector of the "northern six piered hall," the mosaic patterns emphasized the plan of the building.

After cleaning, the whole pattern of the mosaic floor became visible during the fifth week. The mosaic patterns in the two southern niches were not the same and within each niche there was a difference between the southern and northern part. In the southernmost niche, the floor pattern was composed of connected concentric circles in the north and black outline Amazon shields or (peltae) in the south. The mosaic in the niche to the north of the latter also consisted of two different motifs: triangular patterns in the south and circular in the north. The area in front of the niches was decorated with black quatrefoils in a circle. It is interesting to notice that both quatrefoils and (peltae do form the mosaic floor of the contemporary Neon Library in the city, built in the twenties of the second century A.D. The central area of the floor within the border consists of a fish-scale motif. These motifs showed a different pattern than that of the mosaic which was uncovered in 2001 and 2005 in the western part of the "northern six piered hall" and the "central hall" (see Roman Baths 2005).

[image] Left, The mosaic in the southern extremity of the southern six-piered hall. Right, Detail with concentric circles above right, the quatrefoils above left, and the Amazon shields (peltae) below. [image]

Just above the floor, between the northwestern and southwestern pillar on the one hand and the northeastern and southeastern pillar on the other hand, we found a concentration of finds (ceramics, glass, metal, fauna, tesserae, crustae, and plaster). During the fifth week, between the southeastern and northeastern pillar, in the southern niche, the team discovered the toes and a part of the sandal with an ivy-leafed attach of a statue. They were placed on a sort of limestone base placed underneath the mosaic floor. They still seemed to stand in their original position and their backs had been doweled most probably to a female dress. If these feet were parallel with the colossal statue of Hadrian, one might think they are from a statue of Sabina, Hadrian's wife, who accompanied her husband on his trips in Pamphylia. We hope next year to find both that statue and the remaining parts of Hadrian. Another base for a statue, discovered in the western niche, probably belonged to a sitting person.

At the end of the fifth week, the excavations in this part of frigidarium 1 were finished and the conservation team took care of the mosaic.

Another important aim of this campaign was to understand the situation just east of the east wall. We started excavating in sector 2435-2380, just between the southeastern pillar of the central hall and the most northeastern pier of the "southern six-piered hall." We started with removing the topsoil. During the sixth week, however, the team interrupted its activities in this part and moved to the area west of the frigidarium 1. In this part we uncovered the southern exterior wall that was also part of a small room just west of the northwestern and southwestern pillar. After removing the topsoil and erosion layer the team uncovered a third layer, i.e., a concentration of finds, mostly ceramics, animal bones, glass, metal, and crustae. The function of this small room still remains unknown.

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