During the time that Gordion served as the capital of the Phrygian kingdom, it consisted of a fortified administrative center containing the palace of the king, workshops, a market, and barracks for a garrison. The palace stood within its own enclosure inside the circuit of the city wall. It was made up of a number of separate buildings used for various purposes and all built on the megaron plan. The great service buildings at the southern end of the site housed the palace servants and their work areas. Most of the palace complex was destroyed in a great fire possibly set by the invading Cimmerians. The burial places and tumuli of Gordion occupied the higher ground, mostly to the east of the river plain. Common people from the Early Bronze Age through Roman times were buried in plain cist graves or in pithol. The wealthy and members of the royal family in Phrygian times were placed in chambers constructed of wood, over which mounds of earth were heaped. The largest tumulus, today rising to a height of more than fifty meters, must once have been approximately seventy meters in height, all of clay brought from elsewhere and artificially heaped over the burial chamber. The excavations at Gordion were started in 1901, and they are still continuing today. A monumental gateway, a great number of houses used by royalty as well as houses of lesser importance, and the city fortifications have been unearthed at the site. The Phrygian gateway stands at a height of nine meters and was constructed of limestone near the end of the 8th century B.C. The city was approached by means of a long, narrow corridor. Two towers that flank the gateway each possess a courtyard that opens to the city. It is thought that these served as barracks areas for the king’s garrisons which were housed in wooden buildings here. The central section of the mound contains the palace proper. It consisted of an outer and inner courtyard which were walled off to isolate the royal buildings. The buildings in this area are megarons, which are structures made with an anteroom and an inner room with a centralized hearth. One of these was paved in mosaics with pebbles, geometrically arranged, of red, blue and white. Part of this may be seen at the museum at the site. These buildings are thought to have been erected with a pitched roof with a crowning acroterion on the front gable. One of them was flanked by two lion heads carved from limestone, which may be seen at the archaeological museum in Ankara.

The walls of these royal buildings were of mud reinforced by wooden timbers and beams. The roofs were covered with reeds, topped by a covering of clay. much earlier; artifacts dating to the early Bronze Age in Anatolia have been uncovered there. An American team of archaeologists has concluded that the capital of the Phrygians does not date earlier than the 8th century B.C., and that it probably reached its pinnacle during the years 725 to 675 B.C. The most famous Phrygian about whom we have any knowledge was King Midas. He was called the Mita of Muski in the records of King Sargon of Assyria, and the tumulus thought to be that of Midas was found containing a rich and wide assortment of Phrygian artifacts.

The site of Gordion is a large mound of earth that has built up over the centuries and that dominates the flat Anatolian plain in this region. The excavations at the site have laid open the various layers of the ancient city to reveal a much more comprehensible history than that of Troy, which was contemporary with Gordion. Like the site of Troy, this one was simply town piled on top of town, city on top of city. Since the site offered no natural defensive capabilities, the Romans and Celts placed little strategic importance on it. Gordion’s fame and glory during the time of the Phrygians soon dwindled, and the ancient capital fell to disuse. A, B, C – Megarons, D – A Temple, E, F – Inner fortification wall surrounding the Royal Palaces Plan of the Greek Tenvple at Pessinus.



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