Sardis     Ephesus     Anemourion

Sardis, a major trade centre
  Sardis was an important provincial capital, as well as a military and industrial centre. The so-called Byzantine Shops of Sardis (about thirty three in total) line the south wall of the vast Bath/Gymnasium complex and give onto the main highway that led from Sardis to eastern Anatolia. They provided a focus for commercial life in the western part of the city, and demonstrate the shift of retailing and small manufacture from the open squares (agorae) to the colonnaded streets in the Early Byzantine period.
  The shops were sheltered under a long portico which at a late date (probably in the early fifth century) replaced a earlier grander structure. A second similar portico stood on the opposite side of the street. The modest new porticoes were built of heterogenous spoils. The squat colonnades supported a wooden entablature and roof, while an ambulatory paved with mosaics allowed access to the shops. The total width of the street and porticoes exceeded 37 m. The shops consisted of one or more units, and were often two-storeyed. Building materials included reused marble blocks for the corners and door jambs, mortared rubble and brick for the walls, and tiles for the roof and the paving of the second-floor apartments. Floors at ground level were normally of beaten earth, but tile and stone were employed where heavy use was in question. The Christian and Jewish proprietors of the Sardis shops manufactured and sold a variety of goods, such as metal tools and utensils, glass vessels (or their contents), dyes and dyed cloth, and possibly jewellery. Some shops were restaurants, identified from the presence of counters, benches for customers, abundant kitchen wares, and sheep or goat bones. Vast numbers of copper coins, typical small change' of the time, suggest continuing use of the shops down to the early seventh century (the colonnade was destroyed by fire in 616).
  One of the dozens of shops (shop E6/E7) excavated in recent years has been identified as a dye establishment. Two menorahs carved on the door jamb seem to indicate that its owner was Jewish, and graffiti on two amphora fragments name a certain Jacob, possibly the owner himself. The shop's upper storey was used for storage; the lower storey for the manufacture of dyes. Both levels were lit by glass windows. Various instruments and containers found scattered on the shop's floor, as well as heaps of dyeing substance, indicate the shops activity. Several mortars and pestles were used to grind the dyes, while incense burning in a brass censer hung from the ceiling chased away the fowl smells. Materials were weighed with steelyards and a small balance, and stored in terracotta pipes placed on end by the stairs. Several cups and a self-heating copper kettle were used by the workmen to make hot drinks. Other implements, such as camp stool frames and lampstands, a knife, a strainer, ceramic bowls and jugs, served common household purposes.
<  Despite their tawdry construction and uneven design, the Byzantine Shops at Sardis were conceived as a unified complex; extensive use of mosaic in the portico suggests some degree of public authority behind the project. In this they differ from contemporary and later commercial structures in a number of cities (Ephesus, Side, Philippi, Corinth) where private individuals encoarched on public space in a more haphazard manner. A most striking example is provided by the city of Caricin Grad, where a small artisan's quarter developped on public and ecclesiastical space alike, inside the walls of the upper city, in the late sixth century.

See also: Urban planning; Urban environment