The Sardis mall. Sardis’s restaurants, hardware stores, glassware shops, residences and dye shops stood on the southern side of the bath-gymnasium complex. Famous for its dyes, Sardis is the place where, according to myth, vain Arachne boasted she could outweave the goddess Athena and where she was turned into a spider when she lost the contest.

Built in the fifth-century B.C. as a part of a modest renewal, the two-storied shops were mostly made of mortared rubble and marble taken from earlier structures and were relatively small—about 16 feet wide and 16 feet tall. Numbered on the plan, the 27 shops contained artifacts revealing that six of the shops were occupied by Jews and ten by Christians.