Home Page Issues Order Form Links Contact Türkçe
Advanced Search  
Click here to visit Akmed Adalya Web Site
If you would like to get announcement mails about Akmed activities, please subcribe to our mailling list.
E-Mail:
First name:
Last name:
 
 
 
 
ANMED Issue: 2004-2
 
Archaeological Research at and Around Sagalassos in 2003
Marc WAELKENS
 

1. Urban Excavations
In 2003 the city excavations focussed on the follovving areas:
The arrangement of the Lower Agora:
The city's second largest square seems to have been arranged in its cur-rent form during the late Flavian and the Trajanic peri-od (late 1st- early 2nd century AD), when lonic porti-coes were built along the square's west and east side, the latter preceding a row of shops. Under Trajan a curved access composed of a stainvay and a terrace wall with a simple street fountain surrounded by beautiful busts of six gods were arranged in the northeast corner of the square. At the same time a first Roman monumental fountain, composed of an lonic façade preceding a brick wall with nine arched statue niches, was built along the agora's north side. This whole arrangement was rather simple, the architectur-al elements being undecorated.

 Things changed drastically under Hadrian (AD 117-138), when first of ali the construction of the largest building of the city, i.e. the Roman Baths, was initiated along the agora's east side, behind the East portico of the square, from which it was separated by a well pre-served street. During the second halfofthe reign of this emperor, a second fountain or nymphaeum, this time two storeys high and built in the Corinthian order, was erected on a terrace above and immediately behind the Trajanic fountain. It is under excavation now and must have been at least 25 m long. Elements of at least 8 marble statues were discovered, two ofthem nearly 6 m high and possibly representing the emperor and his wife, the other ones being life sized. Some of them could be reassembled already and represent a satyr carrying fruit, a Poseidon and an Aphrodite.

The Roman Baths:
The construction of this immense complex started around AD 120 and was already com-pleted and dedicated to Marcus Aurelius and Lucius Verus in AD 165. Last campaign a second frigidarium, stili containing its marble floors, parts of its marble wall revetment and a big pool, was partially exposed, together with a very large undressing room (apodyte-rium), rearranged in the 4'h and again in the 5th century AD, when respectively a nice opus sectile floor and new seats were arranged inside the room, which remained in use until the 7h century AD.

 A Large Urban Villa:
This complex arranged on three successive terraces and floors, already contains 43 rooms. Its courtyard area, surrounded by brick arcades may already go back to the 2nd century AD, but the main arrangement of the house, including a private bath complex, mosaic paved waiting rooms, a large reception hail and dining room, seem to have been built during the 4th/5th century AD, when the house must have belonged to a member of the provincial aristocracy, ruling the cities from their palatial residen-ces. After an earthquake around AD 500, the house was repaired and the reception hail transformed into a dining room. Yet, most probably as the result of the plague of AD 541/2 the original owners disappeared or lost their previous status, and the complex was subdivided into at least three different units. At least two of them were occupied until the 7th century, but it is very characteristic that many of the representative rooms now received a more 'rural' function, being used for storage of farming products and even cow dung. The house was destroyed by a (mid-) 7th century AD earthquake.

Late Roman to early Byzantine Sagalassos:
Excavations in the northeast corner of the Upper Agora, along the east side of the Lower Agora, on Alexander's Hill and in the sanctuary of the imperial cult, documented the early Byzantine phase of Sagalassos. First of all the test soundings in the sanctuary confirmed both through stratigraphical evidence and through an inscription that this sanctuary was not only dedicated to Antoninus Pius (AD 138-161), but that its construction started already under Hadrian who, was worshipped there after he died. The oldest evidence of 'encroachment', meaning that private constructions were installed in former public spaces, occur here already during the late 5th century AD, before the earthquake around the transition of the century. Elsewhere most traces of encroachment seem to go back to the period following this catastrophe. On the east side of the Lower Agora for instance two guard houses were built in the northeast access to the square, whereas a dwelling with at least 7 rooms was installed in the East portico and its shops. Some spaces remained in use until the 7th century, others however, were used as dumps. The same image occurred on the Upper Agora as well, where a row of early Byzantine shops during the 7th century AD also had become rubbish dumps. All of this suggests a slow ruralisation and decline of the site, during the late 6th and early 7th century AD. After a major earthquake devastated the city completely around the middle of the 7th century AD or shortly after, earthquake debris was never removed and it remains unclear where the remaining population lived. Yet, from the 9th/10th to the 10/11th century AD, a fortified village was built inside the sanctuary of Hadrian and Antoninus Pius. After that, during the 12/13th century, a mid-Byzantine fortress occupied the Alexander Hill, before it was destroyed by the Turkmen already established in nearby Aglasun.

2. Restoration and Conservation
 All excavated monuments were professionally treated by a conservation team. Restoration activities at the NW Heroon were limited to filling in the space behind the monuments famous socle frieze representing dancing girls (originals in the museum of Burdur). Yet, an architectural study of the upper part of the monument still to be completed was also carried out. Most efforts were given to the reconstruction of the Antonine nymphaeum on the Upper Agora, of which the polychrome back wall was almost completely restored, as were most of the columns and their bases. Some architraves could be put back into place.

3. The Territorial, the Suburban and the Urban Surveys
During the spring a ceramological survey in the 1.800 sq. km large territory of Sagalassos managed to fill up several gaps in the settlement history of the area. Especially a large number of Early Iron Age (from 8th to 4nh century BC) fortified hill sites, as well as many medieval sites (from mid-Byzantine to early Ottoman period) could be identified. The 'intensive' survey in an area of 2 hours walking around Sagalassos confirmed a settlement pattern already identified in previous years: during the most flourishing period of Sagalassos (2nd to 4nh century AD), the slopes and valleys around the city were occupied by rich villa's, practising olive culture, and by their mausoleia. It was only from the 5th century AD onwards, that because of unstability, a more intensive agriculture returned to the surroundings of the city. In the city proper an 'intensive' survey confirmed the domestic character of its southwest part, where a new, third agora was discovered. A geophysical survey established the street plan and buildings in the theatre area, showing that occupation continued further east of the theatre, including a.o. a vast gymnasium and a small bath building. To the northeast of the monument a chaotic artisanal area with at least 22 kilns or furna-ces was identified.

 4. Interdisciplinary Research
The geomorphologists concentrated their research mainly on the landslides and erosion in the valley of Ağlasun. Yet, they also carried out a drilling pro-gramme in a marshy area near Bereket.

The geologists further focused on the presence and location of iron ore exploited in antiquity and on the seismology and tectonic history of the region. Electro-tomography revealed several faults, some of which were stili active in historical times. One even runs through Sagalassos itself and may have been responsi-ble for a majör earthquake during the 7th century AD.

The botanists further studied the forest regeneration processes in the region as well as the botanical remains retrieved through flotation of excavation material.

The archaeozoologists analysed tens of thousands of faunal remains, mainly from the urban villa, the early Byzantine dwelling on the Lower Agora and the mid-Byzantine fortress on the Alexander Hill.

In the excavation house the ongoing research on ceramics, coins, metallurgy, glass production ete. continued.

Back Open as PDF Print Article