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JMP'11 Area 1 Excavations

The purpose of this excavation was to test an hypothesis that the pavilion stood central to a large garden area. The south gate marked one end of the garden should be balanced with another gate to the north. The resulting trench of 14 x 10m revealed a gate with two bastions, one with a guard room.

A mass of fallen carved stone seems to be earthquake damage, after which the paving stones were removed. Among these stones were numerous fragments of iron bands and square iron plates, which once covered the wooden gate itself. A drainage channel passed in front of the gateway. The northern part of both bastions curved inward and the inner face had waiting benches (one with a game scratched upon it). An earlier drainage channel showed two phases of construction, and curiously, Baramki describes similar phases and paving stone removal at the South Gate. Artifacts should represent secondary fill after the removal of the paving stone, and perhaps disuse of the gate, and are mixed Umayyad/Abbasid transitional types.

JMP'13 Area 1 Excavations

Area 1, Bath PorticoSquare 1700 was the north end of the portico in front of the Audience Hall, which had been cleared in the 1940s and left filled with stones. The excavation promised to be little most than clearance of blocks and fill, but it had never been properly recorded.  It was behind five column bases. The northernmost of these bases was attached to the east-west enclosure wall. East of this base was a raised platform with stone fragments. A drain pipe from the roof was found. The surface was plastered indicating a basin was part of its function; otherwise the platform was similar to one next to the North Gate, suggesting the inner area along the enclosure wall may have had a series of shops.

The portico was tied to a north-south wall with four walls of fine masonry. These formed four rooms, which may have been market areas separated by low partitions. The southern room had a low bench against the back (west) wall.

The wall between the first two rooms had been removed and a deep pool inserted in this area. The pool was carefully plastered and had a set of stairs in the southeast corner. The pool was found full of refuse debris tipped in from the west side. This rubbish contained a fine collection of moulded wares, some glazes, and other ceramic types of the Abbasid period. It seems likely that the pool is the only element of buildings which once filled this area as part of the Abbasid town. Regrettably all these buildings were removed without record in order to display the Umayyad palace complex.

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