The International Ez Zantur Project

Preliminary Report on the 1997 Swiss-Liechtenstein excavations at ez Zantur

by Bernhard Kolb (with contributions by Daniel Keller and Yvonne Gerber)

IV. Ez Zantur IV: Rooms 7–9

In squares 87–88/AO we reached the floor level of the partially excavated room 7 (Fig. 2). The flagstone pavement is laid at a right angle to that in room 6 and consists of considerably smaller and much less well-preserved sandstone pavers on a slightly lower level (923.80 m compared to 923.85 m in room 6). To the east, in squares 86–87/AP–AQ, the pavement of the ground floor is lost. Only two sides of the room are clear – the pillars P1 and P2 in the west and wall H in the south. Since there are no indications of a separating wall between walls L and H, room 7 probably extended to wall I in the east (Fig. 2). The function of room 7, when one takes into consideration the adjacent, richly decorated, room 6, was probably that of a courtyard.

The eastern faces of pillars P1 and P2, facing room 7, were as richly decorated as those on the west side. On the east foot of pillar P1 were found a modillion-cornice of 70 cm length as well as fragments of the connected painting. A vegetative decor in black is painted on an ochre coloured ground. Red cherry-like fruits are depicted among a dense black foliage.

While the bedrock in the area of room 6 and the western section of room 7 can be assumed to be just below the floor level, it falls sharply further eastwards, necessitating the construction of the extraordinarily well preserved substructures in squares 86–87/AP–AQ. The easterly edge of what is preserved of the pavement in room 7 marks the transition to the area of the lost floor which was supported by the said substructure. Rows of arches ranged between walls H and N resp. between N and L, some of which are completely intact while others are preserved as pillars (Fig. 9). The pillars of the erstwhile arches along wall L stand somewhat higher in a ledge hewn out of the rock. The substructures extend about 3.5 m down to the bedrock surface of the lower floor. This cellar/these cellars were originally reached by a short staircase in corridor 9 which was walled up during the last phase of use in the 4th century.

Fig. 9: EZ IV. View of the substructures in 87/AO–AP from the east (photo: D. Keller)
Fig. 9: EZ IV. View of the substructures in 87/AO–AP from the east (photo: D. Keller)

The pavement in the partially exposed room 8 is laid more or less on the same level as the floors of rooms 1–3 and 6–7 (918.72 m) The floor in room 8 rests on a substructure just like that of the aforementioned room 7. The coins found in rooms 8 and 9 confirm that the end of the last phase of use of the southern corner of this large building was again the earthquake in AD 363.