Sunday, December 23, 2012

The Dog Gate Excavations

In the excavation season of 1934 some attention was turned to the so-called Dog Gate (Porte du Chien) which had figured so prominently in the campaigns of the Crusaders to capture the city in 1098. The Dog Gate has been placed in some map versions reconstructing the street layout as the point at which the street running the length of the East side of the circus reaches the branch of the Orontes and then turns to meet the different orientation of the Hippodamian grid on the south-east side of the river.

We have discussed some aspects of this gate elsewhere but some more elucidation is now possible. The report from the season of that year in Volume I of the series Antioch-on-the-Orontes gives a scant paragraph to these efforts even though they went on for month at least:

"Other investigations carried on at Antioch included an excavation lasting about a month in the sector Antioch 12-N where, at an angle of the wall of Justinian, local tradition placed a gateway, known as Bab-El-Kelb, from the figure of a dog (?) carved on the stonework. During the past century the superstructure of the gate has been entirely removed by pilferers of stone, but the excavations revealed the fact that in antiquity there was, actually, a gate at this point."     

The recent release of the Princeton Photo Archives allows us to now see the images taken at the site during this work. Unfortunately the images are very small, without a click to enlarge component. However we have downloaded the thumbnails and readers can blow them up as best they can to see detail.

Porphyry columns under Byzantine level.

General view of the basalt pavement outside the city wall.

Detail of the basalt pavement outside the city wall.

Basalt pavement inside and outside the city gate.

Limestone staircase and pavement inside the city wall.

Limestone staircase, pavement and wall.

City wall and rough pavement.

Cement level under basalt pavement.

Detail of wall under late staircase.

Foundation of Justinian wall and more ancient walls.

View of trench west of basalt pavement showing retaining walls, pavement and pipes

View of trench west of basalt pavement showing foundation of cement pavement and walls.

West trench with brick walls.

West trench with brick walls.

General view of excavations in the West Trench.

Detail of brick walk in the West Trench

View of brick wall with big niche in the West Trench.

View of brick wall with big niche in the West Trench.

Trench following the remains of the ancient wall.

Marble entablature.

Marble entablature.

Also we might note that this extensive excavation effort was never written up with more than the scant comment above and so thus we would strongly suspect that the excavation notes/plans moulder away unpublished in some box in the basement at Princeton to this day. 

1 comment:

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