"Gordion: the capital of the Phrygian kingdom." Polatli by EricLe_Rouge
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The mound of Yassihüyük lies on the right bank of the Sakarya River some 20 km west-northwest of the market town of Polatli in west central Turkey, approximately 100 km southwest of Ankara. The valley floor provides good agricultural land. The site consists of: 1) a 10-12 ha Citadel Mound, 2) the smaller 3-4 ha mound of the Küçük Hüyük adjacent to the southeast with a fortress and partial city wall which encloses a further ca 10 ha, and 3) an outer city 20-30 ha in area on the opposite bank of the Sakarya dating to at least the sixth-fourth centuries B.C. On the low slopes overlooking the valley floor on both sides of the river 1-5 km from the mound are approximately 100 burial tumuli of varied sizes dating to the first millennium B.C.
Identification of the site as Gordion, the capital of the Phrygian kingdom in the first millennium B.C., is based on correlations between information from ancient authors and the archaeological sequence and geographical setting, as well as the wealth demonstrated by tumulus burials and the city itself.
The Körte brothers conducted the first excavations at Gordion in 1900, digging several trenches on the City Mound, the Küçük Hüyük, and opening five tumuli (now designated K I-V). The Gordion Project of the University Museum (University of Pennsylvania) began work at the site in 1950 under the direction of Rodney S. Young. Between 1950 and 1973 he directed 17 seasons of excavation. Attention concentrated on the Phrygian Destruction Level dating to ca 700 B.C. and the subsequent rebuilding and occupations; an area of approximately 2.5 ha was exposed, consisting of monumental architecture and associated service quarters. In addition, 29 tumuli were opened. Some had previously been robbed, but others were intact, most notably the largest and presumably royal burial in Tumulus MM (today 300 m in diameter and 53 m high but originally much steeper at ca 200 m x 70m). Areas of second and first millennium B.C. cemeteries and habitation were found during excavation of various tumuli and the Küçük Hüyük. After Young's accidental death in 1974, K. DeVries (1974-1987) and then G. K. Sams (1987-present) served as the Gordion Project Director, as analysis, conservation, and publication of excavated material progressed.
In 1988-89 excavation resumed under the direction of M. M. Voigt. The goal was a detailed stratigraphic sequence of artifactual, floral, and faunal samples from the Middle Bronze age through the late Hellenistic period (ca 1500-150 B.C.); particular attention and broadest clearance was devoted to strata documenting the Late Bronze to Early Iron Age transition. W. M. Sumner conducted an archaeological reconaissance to investigate regional settlement patterns. Study seasons followed in 1990 and 1992.
Voigt resumed excavation in 1993-1997, in collaboration with T C Young, with the focus on the development of the Phrygian city from the Middle Phrygian through Hellenistic and early imperial Roman periods. Trenches were opened on the Citadel Mound, Küçük Hüyük, and in the outer town.
After further intensive survey work in the outer town by Andrew Goldman, Lisa Kealhofer launched a detailed regional survey in 1996, picking up from Sumner's earlier reconnaissance. Work continues.
Conservation of materials from the R S Young excavations continues yearly, under the direction of G K Sams and Jessica Johnson, with many of these objects put on display in the newly expanded museum at Yassihüyük/Gordion.
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