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Ancient Gordion (Yassi Hüyük)

Overview: Gordion is situated on a low flat mound called Yassi Hüyük. The name of the city is clearly related to the name Gordios the first king of the Phrygians. The name Midas or son of Gordios is also controversial and may be a generic name for King. The site is a strongly fortified citadel with a monumental gateway 9 metres wide and 23 metres deep approached by a passageway and ramp designed to discourage attackers who would be at the mercy of defenders placed strategically on the walls above. The focal point of the citadel was a royal palace within a separate enclosure system ...

Introduction: The Archaeology of Phrygian Gordion; Royal City of Midas:
Gordion Special Studies 7 (2013) with C. Brian Rose Editor (Google PreView)

Between the fall of the Hittite Kingdom and the creation of the Persian empire there arose in central and southern Asia Minor a series of powerful states whose rulers occasionally claimed descent from the Hittite kings and whose inhabitants spoke a variety of languages (Luwian -- Aramaic -- Lydian -- Phrygian among others). Fieldwork at several of the leading cities in these states began over 50 years ago but within the last two decades they have yielded an astonishing series of new discoveries that have completely altered our understanding of early 1st millennium BC Anatolia including the monumental fortification wall at Sardis, the Phrygian inscriptions of the palace entrance at Kerkenes and the Kattamuwa stele from Zincirli, which speaks of a soul separate from the body.

Some of the most dramatic new discoveries have been made at Gordion, the Phrygian capital that controlled much of central Asia Minor for close to two centuries and interacted with empires and states both east and west including Lydia -- Greece -- Assyria -- Persia and the Syro-Hittite realm of Tabal, among others. Excavations have been conducted at Gordion over the course of the last 60 years: between 1950 and 1974 by Rodney Young and from 1988 to 2006 by Mary Voigt. Although for many years its topographical development was regarded as relatively well understood, a recently revised analysis of Gordion’s chronology has transformed what had been interpreted as a Kimmerian attack of circa 700 BC into a conflagration possibly related to new construction that occurred 100 years earlier. As a consequence the chronology of Phrygian architecture, ceramics and artifacts has changed dramatically as has our understanding of the history and archaeology of central Anatolia during the Iron Age.

In spite of the economic and political importance of Gordion and Phrygian culture in general both topics have consistently been omitted from courses in Old World archaeology, primarily because Gordion lies too far to the west for many Near Eastern archaeologists and too far to the east for those in the Classical world. The lack of scholarly focus on Phrygia has begun to change only recently. Several new books and articles on Phrygian topography and religion have appeared within the last decade and an overview of recent research at Gordion was published in 2005 under the title The Archaeology of Midas and the Phrygians. Only a few of the chapters in the latter volume focused on the Phrygian settlements however and there remained a need for a second volume that dealt more comprehensively with the changing topography of Gordion and its surroundings from the 10th century BC through the arrival of Alexander in 333. With this objective in mind a conference on the Archaeology of Phrygian Gordion was held at the University of Pennsylvania in April 2007 with papers that spanned six centuries of Gordion’s history and included talks on the regional exploitation of wood, flora and fauna in antiquity as well as the consistently fluctuating interaction between the site’s inhabitants and the landscape ...

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