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Three The Dema Tower
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Two phases of building and occupation on the site of the Dema tower are distinguishable on the basis of the structural remains: the phase of the tower and the phase of the secondary structures formed by Walls 1-4 adjacent to the tower. The contexts of the roof-tile fragments and of the mud-brick fill, debris from the collapse of the tower reused in the secondary structures, make it certain that these were consecutive phases.

Excavation was undertaken with the hope of discovering closely datable occupation debris from the original use of the tower, and in this respect, the results were initially disappointing. Because of the extensive secondary activity on the site, no undisturbed contexts of first-phase material could be found. The walls and tile packings of the second phase might have covered debris left from the first phase, but no pottery sherds were found buried within or under the tile packings and walls, so there is no pottery that can be associated by context with the tower phase of the site.[15]

Find contexts do establish a clear connection between many of the pottery sherds and the phase of the secondary structures. Sherds found on top of the dense roof-tile fills adjacent to Walls 1-4 could possibly be first-phase debris that, by chance, was left on top of the files after they were laid down, but more likely they were deposited there only after those fills were in place. This likelihood becomes a virtual certainty in the case of a vessel with many fragments, all found in the same spot on top of a tile packing. The building of the secondary structures, and especially the laying of the tile and mud-brick leveling fills associated with those structures, involved considerable displacement of earlier debris. It is highly improbable that many fragments of any vessel left over from the original occupation of the tower would have remained together in one place on top of the tile packings after the secondary structures were


built. The same reasons make it unlikely that a substantial number of fragments of an older vessel would have remained undisturbed in one place in the immediate vicinity of the secondary structures during the building and use of those structures. There is no evidence for extensive clearing or construction on the tower site after the abandonment of the secondary structures, so it is reasonable to expect that debris left when the secondary structures were abandoned should be relatively undisturbed. These considerations make it possible to identify the majority of the pottery sherds as debris from the secondary occupation of the tower site.

All fragments of nos. 5 and 6 (black-glazed wares), 9 and 10 (Roman lamps), 13 (water pitcher), and many of the beehive kalathos fragments of no. 20 were found on top of tile packings. Disregarding the Roman lamps as much later material, nos. 5 and 6 both date to the middle or second half of the fourth century, which is possibly also the date of the chronologically less diagnostic coarse sherds, nos. 13 and 20. The aryballos no. 6 is almost three-quarters complete as restored, and all fifteen of its fragments were found together in one place, on top of the tile fill south of Wall 4 close to the tower. As noted above, the find context of the many sherds of no. 6 indicates that it came to rest after the tile fill was laid down. Indeed, this vessel is almost certainly debris left from the period of use of the secondary structures. The two fragments of the black-glazed bowl no. 5, of the same date and from a similar find context as no. 6, support this conclusion, and it is borne out by the analysis of other finds.

The many sherds of three, or possibly four, different artifacts found together as a group provide a second significant context, evidently an abandonment deposit. All identifiable sherds belonging to the black-glazed bowl no. 3, the amphora no. 14, and the beehive lid no. 18 were found in immediate contact with each other, buried within mud-brick debris atop bedrock and under rubble in a small area on the southern side of Wall I (figure 28). The three sherds of the black-glazed cup no. 2 were found very close to, but not directly contiguous with, this deposit. The most remarkable artifact in this group is the complete lid no. 18, all twenty-seven fragments of which were found in place, where the lid had been smashed and left undisturbed until its discovery. The beehive lid is not closely datable, but parallels from datable contexts (such as the Vari house; see discussion under catalog no. 18) demonstrate that this type of lid is very much at home in the period established by the latest closely datable vessel from this deposit. This is the black-glazed bowl no. 3, the shape of which, restored from fourteen fragments, shows that it is a type characteristic of the second half of the fourth century. This date is con-sonant with the parallels for the amphora no. 14, of which at least thirty-


two fragments of the body and toe were found. The black-glazed cup no. 2 dates at least a half-century earlier than no. 3. Because of its date and the smaller number of fragments and proportion of the vessel pre-served, this specimen may well be first-phase debris left by chance in the vicinity of the deposit of later material.

This deposit, dumped here in the second half of the fourth century, confirms the conclusions to be drawn from the material found on top of roof-file fills, namely, that pottery of the second half of the fourth century is associated with beehive fragments and is found in contexts no earlier than the phase of the secondary structures. Indeed, this comparatively abundant material can be identified as debris from the abandonment of the secondary structures.

The rest of the sherds from the tower site were found scattered individually, either in rubble on the surface of the ground or buried in loose mud-brick or tile debris that was not part of a leveling fill associated with the secondary structures. Find contexts therefore have no bearing on the association of these sherds with either structural phase of the site, but comparison of the dates and types of these sherds to those from significant contexts allows most of the remaining pottery to be associated with the period of use of the secondary structures. The rest of the beehive kalathos sherds listed under no. 20, the lid fragment no. 19, and possibly the basin no. 17 can be placed in the group of artifacts associated with the secondary structures. The black-glazed sherds nos. 4, 7, and 8, though not so closely datable as nos. 3, 5, and 6, can easily be placed in the second half of the fourth century and are therefore most likely also part of this group. Likewise, the water pitcher no. 12 and the amphoras nos. 15 and 16, though even less closely datable by themselves, can also be associated with this group through the parallel vessel types of nos. 18 and 14.

There are, however, finds of uncertain association with this large group and other finds that stand apart from it. The lead strip no. 25 is neither datable nor from a context that would dearly associate it with the secondary structures. It may be debris from this phase of the site, but it need not be. The incised roof-file fragments, nos. 21-23, were found in ambiguous contexts, on the surface and in loose tile and mud-brick debris. As roof files, they are certainly material left from the first phase of the site, but they may have been incised at any later time. Arguments will be presented below for identifying these incised files as reused construction debris from the first phase of the site. Only nos. 1, 2, 9, 10, and 11 unambiguously stand apart from the material associated with the second phase of the site by reason of their dates. Nos. 1 and 2 are black-glazed vessels distinctly earlier than the pottery associated with the second-phase structures and are therefore probably debris from the


original period of use of the tower. Nos. 9, 10, and 11, the Roman lamps, are evidence of activity on this site long after the abandonment of the secondary structures.

Altogether, therefore, excavation has yielded evidence for at least three phases of activity on the Dema tower site: the phase of the tower, in which the roof files were originally employed and with which the incised roof tiles and the cups nos. I and 2 are most likely to be associated; the phase of the secondary structures, associated with the reuse of the roof files as leveling fills and with the majority of the pottery; and later activity that accounts for the Roman lamps. Before considering the original form, function, and date of the Dema tower, it will be useful to interpret the evidence for subsequent activity on the site, since that secondary activity provides a terminus ante quem for the date of the original tower.

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Three The Dema Tower
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