Abstract: Gordion as City and Citadel


This lecture provides a broad outline of what we know about Gordion as a place where people lived, worked, played and sometimes fought from ca 2500 BC to 1920 AD.  My primary goal is to answer two broad questions. First, how did the form and organization of the settlement change through time? Second, when did Gordion become a large, dense and diverse population center or “city?” To answer these questions it is necessary to integrate information from two cycles of archaeological research with very different goals, methods and results. The first cycle, directed by Rodney S. Young, focused on the excavation of a large contiguous area (ca 2.7 ha) on the large flat mound at the center of the site, on adjacent fortifications, and on mortuary evidence — burial mounds and cemeteries.  He produced a rich picture of the Phrygian elite in the first millennium BC. The second cycle, my own research, focused on small-scale excavation in order to better understand the sequence and chronology represented in Young’s area excavations, but also on the exploration of parts of the site that were poorly known.  Regional survey complemented the data acquired through excavation.  The two archaeological approaches--each very much a product of its time--are complementary, and each is essential for an understanding of  political and economic change in ancient Gordion..


Short bibliography and/or website on lecture topic:

2011   “Gordion:  the changing political and economic roles  of a first millennium city.” In The Oxford Handbook of Ancient Anatolia, Sharon Steadman and Gregory McMahon, eds.  Oxford:  Oxford University Press.