Back in the LB/BB (Amorium version)

“Large Building” has been the name of our trench for many years and in the context cards and sheets of the excavation this name would translate into the short code LB. From last year on when most of our record keeping went Turkish our new name is “Büyük Bina” so our new trench short code is BB. So the mix of those LB and BB makes a nice title with some allusions to the great Beatles song, although there are no similarities in any way between Central Anatolia and the Soviet Motherland. So, let’s just stick to “Back in the LB/BB.”

So here we are again back at Amorium and at our puzzling trench. From August 1st 2015 we began again excavation work at the trench of the “Large Building” continuing from the point where it stopped the previous season. Excavation at the “Large Building” trench is only a part of the Amorium side-project run by the Institute of Mediterranean Studies under the general Amorium Excavations project. Our team this year consists of some old and many new team members and is always under the caring overview of the most helpful Zeliha Gökalp-Demirel, Professor at Anadolu University and Director of Amorium Excavations. The team members are so far: doctoral students and archaeology assistants Selda Uygun (Anadolu University) and Kostas Roussos (Leiden University), and the Anadolu University students: Zeynep Aktop, Demet Yetkinoğlu, Hakan Can Aslanoğlu, Samet Lüleci and Tugay Serin.

Amorium 2015. The LB/BB excavation team at work

Last year based on our preliminary results we thought that our puzzling building could have such a complex ground-plan that I didn’t dare to post any of the imagined reconstructions we drafted, even in an unofficial blog as this. It proved to be a very wise move as only two weeks in the new season and our much better understanding of the building  rules out some of the more extravagant versions. I still believe it is a central planned building, but of a square outlay and with some interesting vaulting; the roof ending into a cross-barrel vault with a slight slope to the outside. All the above, along with the prevailing masonry, indicates a Late Roman/Early Byzantine period for our nice building, but still we are miles away of fully understanding the dating and phases. So for any Late Roman/Early Byzantine architecture aficionados hold your horses and wait for the much more substantial reports at the KST of Spring 2016 by our Dig Director and other forthcoming early publications.

Amorium 2015. Interesting LR/EB vaulting with our team member Selda Uygun

But even more interesting than the architecture and possible initial intentions for the fine-built square building is our effort to understand the use of it during the post-Roman period. We know from many other trenches at Amorium that Late Roman and Early Byzantine buildings, when possible, where re-used during the Byzantine Early Medieval period namely the 7th to early 9th century AD. So the big question standing is how was this quite substantial centrally planned building used in the later centuries as it looks not demolished, and it would have been standing tall in the middle of the western part of the lower city of Byzantine Amorium. This again needs a lot of work to be answered as we are still excavating the upper layers and we have not yet reached the Medieval layers of use and occupation. So keeping fingers crossed for some 838 AD Arab destruction here too, like in other locations at Amorium and mainly the Byzantine Enclosure.

Needless to say once more that the participation of the Institute of Mediterranean Studies (FORTH) team to the Amorium Excavations is being made possible through a generous grant of the ‘Stavros Niarchos Foundation.’

1 comment:

  1. Congratulations to Zeliha, Nikos, and all the team at Amorium. Great work. Looking forward to more exciting and important finds as the season continues.
    Chris Lightfoot
    New York