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July 2003-July 2010InteractiveDig Sagalassos


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

N-S Colonnaded Street: Aims 2007

The north-south Colonnaded Street is a 280m long, ca. 9.70m wide artery, divided into three sloping sections, separated by two monumental staircases, required to overcome the 20m difference in height between its southern and northern ends. The 2005 and 2006 campaigns here were intended to supplement the older existing 1:200 scale map of the area, which only showed remains then visible on the surface. These excavations, situated in the northernmost of the street's three sections, entailed the clearing of a 45m long section of pavement and three small test soundings below the road surface. The western portico, which is by far the best preserved, was examined by two trenches; in 2006 we dug a test sounding within the shops behind the portico.

Though we are slowly beginning to get a clearer idea of the complexity of activities in the Colonnaded Street area, many issues remain unsolved. Most of the activities we have identified cannot yet be dated or put in a relative order.

Although we possess strong evidence of a Hellenistic occupation of this area of Sagalassos, none of the test soundings uncovered material remains from this period until now, even though we reached bedrock in the portico and the shop. The southern border of the excavated area is ca. 5m from the Hellenistic gate in the south. A cleaning of the area, with removal of the rubble blocks covering the preserved gate structure, might elucidate the connection between the street, its borders, and the gate. A test sounding along its walls could establish a precise date for the construction of the Hellenistic walls and city gate, and also confirm their repairs ca. A.D. 400. Last year, we encountered bedrock at a very high level in the alignment of the bordering walls of the street, we need to establish if a portico in this southern area was possible and, if so, whether there was a connection between the street surface and the porticoes on the level above it and the area behind the portico and shops. Finally, a study of this area might also she light on the later blocking of the Hellenistic gate, which, if it was indeed carried out, must have put serious constraints on the traffic flow toward the city center from this direction.

Further excavation of the shops behind the portico is necessary in order to establish the exact plan and measurements of these units and to examine whether these changed throughout the history of the street. Moreover, we know from earlier campaigns that the foundation fills of these shops contain ceramic finds, which are unknown elsewhere in Sagalassos.

A continuation of the clearing of the pavement to the north is more likely to give information on later phases of habitation. These remains were scanty in the south, because of the small amount of sediment on the street surface. In the section between the northern border of the 2005 excavation and the Tiberian gate at the top of the Agora staircase, the chances of preservation are much better, as the street is covered there by ca. 1m of earth. Moreover, as the lower sediments here are less disturbed, this offers us an opportunity to record post-Roman walking levels and possibly to establish a date for the abandonment of the street. Finally, this excavation of this remaining area between the already cleared section and the Agora will considerably improve the visibility of the ancient urban fabric for visitors, who once more will be able to approach the city center from the south.

This excavation of the street pavement in this northern area should be supplemented by test soundings underneath it, and preferably also by test soundings underneath the slabs on the Lower Agora, to ascertain the relative order, ideally an absolute date, for the laying of the Street and the Agora. It is possible, judging by the Tiberian date of the honorific gate adorning the Agora's southern entrance, that the pavement and slabs were laid in approximately the same period, as part of one enormous building project. Further, soundings executed where the street pavement shows signs of repairs, might also provide us with information on the history of the street between its construction and its abandonment, and an overview of the infrastructure underneath the road surface.

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