Title: The 'Eastern Suburbium' Proasteion of Sagalassos. A chronological, functional and socio-economic Study of an almost uncharted antique urban Phenomenon.
Other Titles: Het ‘Oostelijke Suburbium’ proasteion van Sagalassos. Een chronologische, functionele en socio-economische studie van een bijna onbekend antiek stedelijk fenomeen
Authors: Claeys, Johan
Issue Date: 14-Jun-2016
Abstract: Sagalassos is an ancient Pisidian city, located on a south-facing mountain slope of the Western Taurus mountains in Southwest Anatolia. The city has been inhabited from Classical to Mid Byzantine times, with Late Hellenistic to Early Byzantine times (2nd century BC until the 7th century AD) representing its most intensive period of occupation. Sagalassos has been the subject of ongoing archaeology-driven research since 1986, first as part of the Pisidia Survey Project and from 1989 onwards as subject of the Sagalassos Archaeological Research Project (SARP). Professor Marc Waelkens directed the project between 1989 and 2013; professor Jeroen Poblome from 2014 onwards.

The past decades have provided a treasure of information on the history and layout of Sagalassos and its territory, among which the so-called Potters’ Quarter (now referred to as Eastern Suburbium) northeast of the town. In 2010, professors Jeroen Poblome and Patrick Degryse jointly devised a new research project on the Eastern Suburbium of Sagalassos, a topographically, historically and functionally distinctive suburban development in the immediate periphery of the town of Sagalassos. They envisaged an interdisciplinary research programme that would allow us to map the origins of this ‘peri-urban phenomenon’ and its emerging and decreasing functionalities, to unravel its developing social complexity and to approach the general study area of ancient urbanism from a ‘suburban point of view’. Since the study area also harboured the main artisanal quarter of the city, it was expected to hold potential for the documentation of the area’s importance within the regional economy.

The main modules for this thesis consisted of the various, mostly unpublished, excavation and survey data from previous campaigns, augmented with new research data (2011-2014) collected within the area aimed at answering specific (open) research questions.

Because of its location on a high plateau northeast of the city, the Eastern Suburbium is an area that is topographically segregated from both the rest of the town as well as from its surrounding territory. The suburban setting and topographical characteristics of the area resulted into the formation of a suburban texture that is clearly distinguishable in its historical development, layout and attested functionalities. A quarter century of research had yielded a lot of information on this site, but a thorough study of its many facets was still lacking. This project therefore aimed at gathering all available data, filling the remaining knowledge gaps with additional field work, identifying the nature of this suburban ‘phenomenon’ and presenting the data of all previous, current and ongoing research in an integrated, exhaustive and accessible manner.

Even though the expertise on the Eastern Suburbium was already considerable due to the varied results from previous campaigns, the first major task consisted of combining all available, but fragmented, old and new data into a comprehensive history of the study area. This approach also led to a reassessment and ultimately to a reinterpretation of our knowledge on all historical and functional aspects of the various sites throughout the Eastern Suburbium. From Hellenistic times onwards the area overlaps to a large extent with the Eastern Necropolis, but the burial practices are mainly concentrated along the steeper, rocky slopes surrounding the area. The central part of the area would develop, from Augustan times onwards, into the main artisanal quarter of the city. Until now only pottery production activities have been conclusively attested within the Eastern Suburbium, but the presence of other crafts (glass working, metallurgy, textile dying, etc.) has been suggested. Specific zones within and in the immediate surroundings of the study area were also used for clay quarrying (the Central Depression), for stone quarrying (the largest eastern quarry is located in the southeast of the Eastern Suburbium) and sarcophagus carving (immediately south of the Central Depression). Finally, the southwestern quarter of the area was taken up between c. 50 AD and c. 350 AD by a series of (semi-)public structures and complexes. Communal dining has been attested at the PQ 2 site, which is tentatively identified as a schola, and we hypothesise the identification of the site G complex as a multi-purpose suburban campus, where for example cattle markets and festivals could be organised.
Even though the area covers a geographically distinguishable terrain, the area forms part of the continentia aedificia (the continuously built-up sprawl outside the city walls). In a more broad sense we can refer to the study region as a proasteion (mainly used in the Greek East) or suburbium (mainly used in the Latin West). The problem with these terms is that both also refer to the wider area surrounding an ancient city, including the part of the countryside defined by (elite) villae and suburban farms. This study further recognises a complex framework of different interacting ‘levels of urbanisation’, ranging from the monumental city centre to the desolate mountain slopes, with many different, though partially permeable, levels in between. While the boundaries between these zones were never definite, they appear to increasingly dissolve from Late Roman times onwards. The 7th century AD earthquake would signify a breaking point for the urban texture in the centre of the city, but it appears that the Eastern Suburbium was already to a large extent abandoned in the preceding century. The demise of the quarter was the end station of a longer process, which included, consecutively, the gradual accumulation of waste, the abandonment of the (semi-)public southwestern quarter, the usurpation of older burial monuments, the dismantlement of derelict structures, the return of agricultural and pastoral activities in the area and the removal of the potting activities to a yet unknown location in the countryside. The final major intervention within the proasteion was the erection of an Early Byzantine church on the top of the eastern ridge, but also this building appears to have been emptied before it eventually collapsed in the 7th century AD.
The history of this quarter could be reconstructed in some detail from Classical/Hellenistic times to the so-called ‘Dark Ages’, thus covering a period of more than 1,000 years. This study will hopefully serve as the onset for future research, as some (socio-economic) aspects deserve a more thorough approach.
Table of Contents: Table of content i
Abstract - Öz (Turkish abstract) vii
Introductory remarks xi
Acknowledgements xiii
1.1. Status quaestionis on suburban studies 1
1.1.1. Defining the research topic 1
1.1.2. The written record on suburbia and proasteia 7
1.2. Sagalassos: a polis? 11
1.3. Eastern Suburbium: a proasteion? 16
2.1. Introducing Sagalassos 22
2.1.1. Historical setting 23
2.1.2. Geographical and geological setting 23
2.1.3. Knowing more 24
2.2. Introducing the Eastern Suburbium 25
2.2.1. Setting 25
2.2.2. History of research at the Eastern Suburbium 27
2.2.3. Methodology of the research at the Eastern Suburbium 31 Introduction 31 The methodology behind the available data 31 Research biases 34
3.1. Boundary markers: a ready set of indicators? 36
3.2. Transitional zones and boundaries in the Sagalassos territory 38
3.2.1. Boundary markers in and around Sagalassos 38
3.2.2. Necropoleis as boundary markers? 44
3.2.3. Permeable zones of transition 45
3.3. Conclusions 47
4.1. The area of Sagalassos and its territory 53
4.2. The area of the Eastern Suburbium 56
5.1. Introduction 58
5.2. Infrastructure: organisation in terraces 60
5.2.1. Southern trench of site F 61
5.2.2. Northern trench of site F 67
5.2.3. Discussions on the suburban terraces 69 The terracing system at site F 69 The terracing system throughout the Eastern Suburbium 71 The terracing system throughout Sagalassos 75 Interpreting the Eastern Suburbium terraces 76
5.3. Artisanal activities 79
5.3.1. Limestone quarrying 79 Limestone quarrying in Sagalassos 79 Quarries in the study region 81 Quarrying transport and techniques 84 Quarry management at Sagalassos 87
5.3.2. Clay quarrying 90
5.4. Funerary culture 94
5.4.1. The historical context 94
5.4.2. Terracotta urn burials at site F 97 The find context 97 The ceramic assemblage 101 Physical anthropology 106 Discussion 107
5.4.3. Osteothekes in the Eastern Necropolis 109
5.4.4. A Π-shaped ashlar funerary monument at site F 112 Aedicula tombs in Anatolia 114 The Hellenistic monument at site F 117
6.1. Introduction 121
6.2. Infrastructure 123
6.2.1. Street network 123 Access routes to Sagalassos 123 Street network within the Eastern Suburbium 130
6.2.2. Water infrastructure 137
6.2.3. Upkeep of the terrace walls 138
6.3. Artisanal activities 139
6.3.1. Development of the Potters’ Quarter 139
6.3.2. PQ 1 east slope workshop(s) 142 Early Roman Imperial Phase 142 Middle Roman Imperial Phase 145
6.3.3. The site of the PQ coroplast workshops 147
6.3.4. Site F workshop(s) 147
6.3.5. Other artisanal activities 149 Stone quarrying 149 Clay quarrying 150 Metallurgy 151 Other crafts 151
6.3.6. Research techniques and biases 152 Interpreting the data 152 Discussion 155
6.4. Funerary culture 157
6.4.1. Cremations at site F 157 Secondary cremation or fire pit? 157 Primary cremation 158 Nails used as talismans or against revenants? 162
6.4.2. Inhumation burials at PQ 4 169 The archaeological context 169 A burial compound at a prime setting 172
6.4.3. Vaulted family tomb at site F 176
6.4.4. Funerary feasting activities 178 The archaeological contexts 178 Discussion 179
6.5. Communal presence 182
6.5.1. The complex at site G 182 The archaeological context 182 Discussion 1: a gymnasion? 184 Discussion 2: a campus? 186 Conclusions 192
6.5.2. Saalbau type schola at PQ 2 194 The archaeological context 194 A schola? 198
6.5.3. A larger complex of communal buildings? 202 Structures west of the schola 202 A large building northeast of the site G complex 203
CHAPTER 7. ROMAN IMPERIAL PERIOD (c. 150 – c. 350 AD) 207
7.1. Introduction 207
7.2. Infrastructure 209
7.2.1. Street network 209
7.2.2. Water infrastructure 209 Upper eastern aqueduct 210 Middle eastern aqueduct 219 Lower eastern aqueduct 220 Water infrastructure within the Eastern Suburbium 222
7.3. Artisanal activities 225
7.3.1. Pottery production 225
7.3.2. Quarrying activities 226
7.4. Funerary culture 227
7.4.1. Historical context: a shift in burial culture 227
7.4.2. The naiskos tomb at PQ 1 229 A temple tomb 229 The exterior of the tomb 230 The pronaos 231 The cella 232 The central burial chamber 233 The eastern, western and northern burial chamber 234 The temenos 235
7.4.3. The ‘Gräberstrasse’ at PQ 3 236
7.4.4. Aedicula tombs in the Eastern Necropolis 238
7.4.5. Family tombs at site D and site F 241 Site D family tomb 241 Site F family tomb 242
7.4.6. Other monumental tomb types 243
7.4.7. Pit inhumations at site F and PQ 4 248 Pit inhumations at site F 248 Pit inhumations within the PQ 4 burial compound 250
7.4.8. Sarcophagi 251
7.4.9. Arcosolia 254
7.4.10. Discussions 256 Longevity of the tombs 256 Competition for space 256 Garden tombs 257
7.5. Communal presence 259
7.5.1. Architectural adaptations to the schola at site PQ 2 259
7.5.2. The schola as a banquet hall 264 ‘Soup kitchen’ dumps east of the schola 267 ‘Final banquet’ dump within the schola 270 Discussion 280
7.5.3. The schola abandoned 287
7.5.4. Continuity of other communal buildings 289
7.5.5. The honorific column 289
CHAPTER 8. LATE ROMAN PERIOD (c. 350 – c. 550 AD) 291
8.1. Introduction 291
8.2. Infrastructure 293
8.3. Artisanal activities 295
8.3.1. East slope workshop at PQ 1 295
8.3.2. Coroplast workshops at PQ 300 Introduction 300 The archaeological context 301 The organisation of the coroplast production 308
8.3.3. The potters’ quarter in Late Antiquity 309 An expanding business? 309 The scale of pottery production in Late Antiquity 310
8.4. Funerary culture 314
8.4.1. Family tombs at site D and site F 314 Site D family tomb 314 Site F family tomb 316
8.4.2. Individual tombs at site F 317
8.4.3. The naiskos tomb at PQ 1 320 Final phase of use and post-occupational havoc 320 Eastern and western burial chambers 321 Central burial chamber 321
8.4.4. The burial compound at PQ 4 324 Introduction 324 The individual tombs east of the partition wall 326 The individual tombs west of the partition wall 329 Discussions 332
8.5. Communal presence 334
8.5.1. The site of the PQ 2 schola 334
8.5.2. Site G complex and adjacent monumental structures 336
8.6. Waste dumping 337 8.6.1. Waste management throughout the Eastern Suburbium 337
8.6.2. Waste dumps and the competition for space 339
9.1. Introduction 341
9.2. Early Byzantine infrastructure 342
9.2.1. The street network and water infrastructure 342 The street network 342 The water infrastructure 344
9.2.2. “A series of small walls” 345
9.3. Christians in the Eastern Suburbium 350
9.3.1. The rise of Christianity in Pisidia 350
9.3.2. An Early Byzantine church at PQ 5 351 Introduction 351 Terracing and levelling the terrain 353 The church 354 The adjacent rooms 356 Abandonment of site PQ 5 359
9.3.3. Discussion 359 A church in the Eastern Suburbium 359 Interpreting the evidence 360
9.4. The aftermath 362
9.4.1. Introduction 362
9.4.2. A pastoral campsite 364
10.1. Diachronic functional development of the Eastern Suburbium 367
10.1.1. Introduction 367
10.1.2. The development of the public infrastructure 368 Layout of terraces, streets and aqueducts 368 The rise and demise of a ‘monumental’ quarter 370
10.1.3. The development of the artisanal activities 372
10.1.4. The development of the Eastern Necropolis 374
10.1.5. The numismatical evidence 378
10.2. Loosening or losing the boundaries city – proasteion - chora 382
10.2.1. The historical setting 382
10.2.2. The Eastern Suburbium in Late Roman and Early Byzantine times 387
10.2.3. Dissolving boundaries 394
11.1. Suburbia/proasteia in the ancient world: issues and opportunities 400
11.1.1. Introduction 400
11.1.2. Issues 402 Waste management 402 Health 404 Fears 406 Nuisances and disruptions 408 Dangers 409
11.1.3. Opportunities 411 A locus amoenus (pleasant place) 411 Availability of space and lower land prices 412 Economic opportunities 414
11.1.4. Conclusions 416
11.2. The Eastern Suburbium of Sagalassos: issues and opportunities 418
11.2.1. Introduction 418
11.2.2. Issues 418 Waste management 418 Health 426 Fears 429 Nuisances and disruptions 432 Dangers 432
11.2.3. Opportunities 434 A locus amoenus? 434 Space, land prices and economic opportunities 436
11.2.4. Conclusions 439
Bibliography 453
Lists of figures/tables/attachments 497
Publication status: published
KU Leuven publication type: TH
Appears in Collections:Archaeology, Leuven
Division of Geology

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