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Gordion (Yassıhöyük)  

The city of Gordion, capital of the Phrygian Kingdom, is located 94 km west of Ankara, next to Yassıhöyük village, 29 km northwest of Polatlı. Findings obtained from the excavations show that there was a settlement in Gordion before the Phrygian Period since the Early Bronze Age. However, the city showed its great development as the capital of the Phrygians in the 9th century BCE, and after the Phrygian period the settlement continued until the 14th century CE. The Gordion mound, which covers an area of approximately 13.5 acres, is located right on the river Sakarya (Sangarios). The mound was first discovered and studied by the brothers Gustav and Alfred Körte in 1900, and since 1950 excavations have been carried out almost uninterruptedly by Rodney Young, Keith DeVries, Mary Voigt, Kenneth Sams, and currently Brian Rose. The site is also yielded the richest finds in terms of Old Phrygian inscriptions (see Gordion Inscriptions) thanks to the excavations conducted here. The artifacts are exhibited in museums in Gordion, Istanbul, and Ankara.  


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penn.museum/ Sams, 2012 Sams, 2012 Mosaic Mosaic Sams, 2012 Sams, 2012 B. Bilgin, 2020 Roller, 2012 Roller, 2012 Roller, 2012



Tumulus MM  

Tumuli are one of the burial customs of Phrygians. However, their limited number suggests that this applies only to the royal family and high rank people in society. Around Gordion, there are more than 120 burial mounds or tumuli, most of which belong to the Phrygian period. Only 44 of them have been excavated until now. Undoubtedly, the most important of them is the MM tumulus with a height of 53 meters, overlooking all the others. The original height should be around 70 meters. Its diameter, which is 300 meters now, was originally around 250 meters. It is the second largest tumulus in Anatolia after the tumulus of Lydian King Alyattes which was built almost 200 years after the MM tumulus. What is more important than the size of the MM tumulus is that it has come to the present day without being looted or damaged. MM tumulus is thought to have been built for an important Phrygian king. As a matter of fact, it was named MM as the abbreviation of Midas Mound because it was named after the most famous king of the Phrygians. However, the latest dating studies indicate that this tumulus was built in 740 BCE which is too early for the great king Midas. Researchers suggest that the occupant of the Tumulus MM was the father of Midas. It was first excavated in 1957 by the American archaeologist Rodney S. Young and his team. Similiar to earliest Phrygian tumuli, there is a wooden tomb chamber covered with a mound of stone rubble. It is covered with a thick mantle of clay and earth to form the tumulus. Most of the findings of tomb chamber are currently exhibited in the Anatolian Civilizations Museum in Ankara.  


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Young, 1981 Liebhart et al., 2016 Penn Museum Gordion Archive Livius.org, 2014 B. Bilgin, 2017 Simpson, 1990 McGovern, 2000 Liebhart & Stephens, 2016 Liebhart & Stephens, 2016 Liebhart & Stephens, 2016 Liebhart, 2012 Liebhart & Stephens, 2016 Young, 1981 Simpson & Spirydowicz, 1999 Penn Museum Gordion Archive Liebhart & Stephens, 2016





Literature:
Liebhart, R.F. 2012 'Phrygian Tomb Architecture: Some Observations on the 50th Anniversary of the Excavations of Tumulus MM' in The Archaeology of Phrygian Gordion, Royal City of Midas, eds C.B. Rose and G. Darbyshire, Philadelphia, 128-147.
Liebhart R. F., G. Darbyshire, E. Erder & B. Marsh. 2016. 'A Fresh Look at the Tumuli of Gordion' in Tumulus as Sema: Space, Politics, Culture and Religion in the First Millenium BCE, eds. U. Kelp & O. Henry, Berlin, 627-636.
Liebhart, R.F. & L. Stephens. 2016. 'Tumulus MM: Fit for a King' in The Golden Age of King Midas: Exhibition Catalogue, eds. C.B. Rose & G. Darbyshire, Philadelphia, 28-39.
McGovern, P.E. 2000. 'The Funerary Banquet of King Midas', Expedition 42.1 21-29.
Roller, L. E. 2012. 'Phrygian Religion and Cult Practice', in Phrygians, In the Land of Midas, In the Shadow of Monuments, eds. T. Tüfekçi-Sivas & H. Sivas, İstanbul.
Sams, G. K. 2007. 'Gordion and the Phrygians', in The Mysterious Civilization of the Phrygians, eds. T. Tüfekçi-Sivas & H. Sivas, İstanbul.
Sams, G. K. 2012. 'Gordion, the Capital City of the Phrygians and its Buildings', in Phrygians, In the Land of Midas, In the Shadow of Monuments, eds. T. Tüfekçi-Sivas & H. Sivas, İstanbul.
Sams, G. K. 2012. "Phrygian Tumuli", in Phrygians, In the Land of Midas, In the Shadow of Monuments, eds. T. Tüfekçi-Sivas & H. Sivas, İstanbul, 244-257.
Simpson, E. 1983. "Reconstructing An Ancient Table: The 'Pagoda' Table from Tumulus MM at Gordion", Expedition 25, no:4 11-26.
Simpson, E. 1990. "Midas' Bed and A Royal Phrygian Funeral", Journal of Field Archaeology 17, 69-87.
Simpson, E. & K. Spirydowicz. 1999. "Gordion Wooden Furniture: The Study, Conservation, and Reconstruction of the Furniture and Wooden Objects from Gordion", 1981–1998, Ankara.
Young, R. S. 1981. "Three Great Early Tumuli, The Gordion Excavation Final Reports" Vol 1. Philadelphia.

Image sources:
Penn Museum Gordion Archive
R. S. Young, 1981
E. Simpson, 1990
E. Simpson & K. Spirydowicz, 1999
P. E. McGovern, 2000
R. Liebhart, 2012
L. E. Roller, 2012
G. K. Sams, 2012
Livius.org, 2014
R. Liebhart et al., 2016
R. Liebhart & L. Stephens, 2016
Bora Bilgin, 2017, 2020


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