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July 2003-July 2010InteractiveDig Sagalassos
Superposition of tomb 11 (above) and tomb 12 (below)
Stone cover of tomb 9
Water Channel (above) interrupted by Tomb 10 (below)

Photos courtesy Sagalassos Archaeological Research Project. Click on images to enlarge.
by Koenraad Demarsin

The Apollo Klarios Sanctuary: August 3-14, 2008

As in previous campaign and in the campaign of 2005, research is carried out on the Middle Byzantine graveyard (11th - 13th century A.D.) south of the Apollo Klarios basilica. Last year, seven tombs were excavated and another one was attested. This year we connected the sectors excavated in 2005 with the sectors excavated last year. Initially, we thought it to be a rather quick operation, while we suspected that few or no graves would be present, but this seemed to turn out otherwise. Already four tombs could be attested. At first glance the resemblance with the tombs excavated during previous campaigns is high. The coverage, if present, often is constructed out of limestone slabs and tiles. Tomb 9, which is excavated at the moment, is the best example of this. The tomb of an adult which is already excavated (tomb 10) could contain a body of about 1,60 meters, which is about the same size of the adult tombs excavated in 2007. Within this tomb a skeleton was found, but its skull wasn't found in situ any more. The Byzantine inhabitants of Sagalassos also turn out to have been very good recyclers of structures that have been constructed before. All tombs are situated in a structure that once must have been a room before the graveyard was constructed. After the room went out of use, the graveyard was created. The population even reused an old water channel running from east to west through the room, for the construction of their graves. The already mentioned tomb 10 was built partly within the channel, while a smaller tomb of a child (tomb 11, about 1 m long ) was placed almost entirely within the channel. At the head end of this burial (East) a large tile was put upright, which once may have served as marker of the tomb. This feature is remarkable, because so far, very little evidence was present for tomb markers on the graveyard, and this might be a first indication. This was not the only surprising result of our excavation so far. Up to now, we only encountered graves that were separated well from each other, on a respectable distance and mostly also respecting the orientation towards the East. Therefore it was striking for us to discover that below the small (child) grave just mentioned (11), the upper part of another tomb was present, containing the skeleton of an adult (tomb 12). Moreover, his foot end was covered by tomb 4, which was excavated last year. This fact of superposition of tombs is new for Sagalassos. Gravegoods are rather poor within the Apollo Klarios cemetery, however, due to careful searching and seaving of the soil within the tombs, we already recovered an earring, a small cross and some nails that possibly might have been part of coffins.

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