While exploring the ruins of the city of Perga we saw many things that looked like this:

Base of a column with a hole in the center and a groove running to the edge

It looks like the base of a column (though maybe it is a capital?). I am curious why there is a radial groove running from the hole in the center to the edge.

  • 2
    Looks quite like a non-Doric base, not capital. Although pic is in a weird angle, imo. But if you saw "many things" like that, perhaps you have other pics, of either this object in diff perspective or similar ones? More info on which 'site' exactly you saw it (agora)? Commented Dec 28, 2021 at 12:58
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    Related: Were Greek columns hollow?. Especially last answer. One could speculate that undersized pins would be used to allow precise alignment of sections, then hot lead forced in through the groove to tighten the joint.
    – justCal
    Commented Dec 28, 2021 at 14:39
  • @LangLangC I don't have another picture, no. But these were all around the site... probably in the agora as well, though I don't remember specifically.
    – adam.baker
    Commented Dec 28, 2021 at 14:55
  • Perhaps around the net you find 'similar enough' pics to fit your memory (like canstockphoto.com/perga-ruins-in-turkey-with-the-32614741.html but again, I do not see enough on that low-res pic). To clarify: It 'looks too deep' to be incidental/accidental? Is this straight line 'base' originally quadratic or hexagonal (on others, here I do not see what's broken off how)? Commented Dec 28, 2021 at 15:16
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    Upvote because this kind of question is (IMHO) rather difficult to research. I'm wondering if it is for drainage.
    – MCW
    Commented Dec 28, 2021 at 15:57

1 Answer 1


An article in the book Master Builders of Byzantium by Robert Ousterhout discussing the construction of Greek and Roman columns confirmed my suspicions from comments above:

enter image description here

So the channel in the stone allowed hot lead to be poured into the section to secure the pin which would connect the base to the next section of column.

There seems to be some confusion, so I will speculate once again on the possible process involved.

The pin would be set tightly in the upper section, either driven into a more precise hole or set in lead at an earlier time. (Note this could be done in the open, so this side would not require a channel, thus matching one of the images pointed out in comments-it's an upper section).Then that section, with the pin installed, would be lowered into the open, oversized hole in the lower piece. This would allow the column section to be adjusted to flush the sides as best as possible. Then when the pieces are properly aligned, the lead is poured in from the side into the bottom hole, finishing the connection. Rinse and repeat.

@LangLangC provided a link to other images depicting the hole and channel pattern in other column sections.

The same can be seen an image in @T.E.D.s' answer to this question

  • Is that channel really in the direction observed in the pic? To me, this reads ambiguous, as it could just refer to the empolium itself? Commented Dec 28, 2021 at 18:58
  • The example pic in the book does not support this thesis, the 'original' has no pics. This discussions confirms your A, with new pics… ;) Commented Dec 28, 2021 at 19:28

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