As readers of this blog know, I’ve been working with a team to publish the Early Christian basilica at the site of Polis EF2. One of the most perplexing things about this building is the relationship between the east end – specifically that three eastern apses – and the foundations of the nave and aisle walls.
The eastern apses do not bond with main walls of the nave or the aisle foundation walls. The widening of the aisle foundations at the point in which they join with the main nave would suggest that the main and flanking naves are later than the aisle foundation walls. In other words, it would make the best sense if we imagined the widening of the aisle foundations wall as a response to an apse being built with thicker walls. The apse is a more structurally complex and demanding component of the church and it would make sense that the aisle foundation wall received additional thickened to support more effectively a reconstructed eastern end.
The archaeology might well add some support to this sequence of building in the eastern part of the church. Efforts to find evidence for a foundation trench for the thickened eastern buttresses of the church were not successful. In other words, it seems like the fill below the floor of the eastern part of the church post-dates the thickening of the aisle foundation wall. This would be consistent with a major rebuilding of the eastern end of the church.
It is notable that the eastern wall of a portico that ran along the south side of the church building rested against (but did not bond with) the south side of the south aisle apse. This has allowed us to sequence the construction of the portico after the construction of the eastern apses and the modification of the eastern end of the church.
So the phasing of the church must go, aisle foundation walls, nave, and portico.
The ceramics from the fill associated with the construction of the apse are 7th century.