6 Nisan 2014 Pazar


Gordion volume I: Three Great Early Tumuli (1981) was a landmark publication in presenting to scholars the excavation, architecture, and contents of three remarkable burials dating to the Early Phrygian period.

Now complementing that work is the present study by Ellen I.Kohler, which addresses the other inhumantion burials in wooden tombs under tumuli, excavated betweedn 1950 and 1969. The fifteen burials here considered, belonging to the eight to sixth centuries BC., comprise the matrix within which the three great early tumuli (and the Körte brothers Tumulus III) stand out as exceptional. None of the tumuli here discussed by Dr.Köhler approaches the previously published ones in size or wealth of contents. Yet they were hardly the burials of paupers.

All told, approximately eighty tumuli have been identified in the vicinity of GORDION. Ranging in date from the eight century down into Hellenistic times, if not later, they surely represent but a fraction of those denizens who died in the area over a span of roughly eight centuries.

The occupants of these "lesser" tumuli then can with little diffuculty be viewed as the "elite" of local society, be their station the result of birth or means, accomplishments or office. Their deaths would have occasioned the mustering together of a considerable work force, including earth haulers and carpenters.

Potters and other artisans may also have been set to work on special items to accompany the deceased into the afterlife. If this level of activity is compared with the simple cist graves and modest offerings known from what Rodney Young called "the poor man's cemetary" the difference in attention and accommodations is readly apparent.

For each tumulus under consideration, Dr.Köhler provides a detailed account of the excavation, earth engineering tomb architecture and burial assemblage. Through correlation with materials from the great tumuli and the City Mound (YASSIHÖYÜK) , she is able to suggest a PRE of POST-KIMMERIAN date for each burial and to offer a relative sequence from them all.

Especially valuable for our understanding of wooden architecture in ANATOLIA are her accounts, both individual and summary of the construction techniques used in the tombs - rare and welcome glimpses of ancient carpenters at work. Dr.Köhler also includes synthetic commentaries on several categories of gifts placed in the tombs. Other material offerings, as well as conclusions that pertain to the full range of the excavated tumuli, will await discussions in her sequel study of cremation burials under tumuli, a practice that begins to occur toward the end of the seventh century.

The present study is a major accomplishment in bringing together and marshalling a wide and diverse body of material, from fibulae to pottery, site preparations to centering poles. What it took several scholara to accomplish in GORDION I, Dr.Köhler has impressively achieved single-handedly.

Her intimate knowledge of GORDION , where she has been a staff member since the inception of the American excavations, shines forth throughout the volume. With her study, the archaeology of PHRYGIA takes another important step forward.
For Dr.Köhler's researc at Gordion and in Ankara the University of Pennsylvania Museum and the Gordion Excavations are most gratefull for the support and goodwill of the Turkish Ministeries of Education, Tourism and Culture, especially the General Directorate for Monuments and Museum, and the Directorate of the Musuem of Anatolian Civilizations in ANKARA.

G.Kenneth Sams
Series Editor.

Volume II part I of the Gordion Excavations Final Reports has been written along the same general planning lines as volume I, Three Great Early Tumuli by Rodney S.Young, who was field director of the Gordion excavations from 1959 to 1974.

In Volume I he published the three largest PRE-KIMMERIAN tumuli P,MM and W.

In Volume II the responsibility will be to publish the rest of the PRE-KIMMERIAN tumuli and all the post-KIMMERIAN PHRYGIAN tumuli....

...Commentaries on selected froms of gift and their development if any into post-KIMMERIAN times are based on the chronologiacl order suggested by the series as argued in the chapter on sequence...

...Horse trapping and vehicular material when they form a viable group are exceptions. They are unified under those titles even when they are made of a variety of materials.

Within the metal group the order follows a rough ranking of the metals with reference to modern value: gold, electrum, silver, bronze, iron, lead,etc. Within each variety of metal, jewelry, vessels, belts and fibulae precede weapons and implements.

Ivory and then bone consitute the B1 category . G includes vitreous-glazed and paste objechts followed by true glass. Pottery (p) adheres to a general order: imported before local, painted before plain; within these categories shape dictates order, closed vessels roughly progressing into open vessels (i.e. dinoi and jugs to bowls and plates). In each of these groups fine comes before coarse. Pottery is followed by clay of miscellaneous use (MC: whorls, molds,etc.) other than terracotta (T) statuettes and related items. Stone Sculpture (S) precedes other stone (ST) objects such as jewelry, vessels, and implements. Wood (W) appears in the next position, but with the exception of coffins, which are not inventoried among the contents , there is only one example - a theoretical fargment of furniture based on evidence of studs in Tumulus S-2.

Finally, when material is no longer of prime importance, there are the epigraphical categories; inscriptions, graffiti, and doodles. (I and few P).....

....."The animal bones from the associated sacrifices, and whatever sporadically dispersed bones were saved from the mantles, are being studied by Sebastian Payne of Cambridge, England. His prelimanry report on the Horse burials in Tumulus KY froms appendix to this volume."

"The general content of the burned layer was fairly uniform: ash, cinders, blackened earth with occasional sherds, some animal bones, and bits of iron."....

..."This end wall was exceptional in that there were incised marks on the interior face: () on the tpmost beam, at the soutwest end, cut clearly and visible after: () on the same beam, at the northeast end, a plain vertical stroke cut in a rough surface which may have concealed additioanl hastae, () on the third bearn down, at the northeast end. It is to be noted that all these letters, (hardly proper carpenter's marks if visible after fitting) were used in the PRE-KIMMERIAN INSCRIPTIONS FOUND IN TUMULUS MM."....

"The general complexion of the burial assemblage approaches that with the Horse burial at NORŞUNTEPE."

"West Slope Deposit-TumJ 31-53 : Bronze fragment of Horse-bit"

During the building of the chamber at a moment when the wxceptionally wide stone pack on the east end was still at 0,90 m. above the bottom of the pit, before deposition of the body and the gifts inside the chamber and possibly even before the east wall had been built to its full planned height, a pause in the activities seems to have occured while two bridled Horses were sacrified and buried along the east side and in the southeast corner of the pit. They lay directly on the stone pack, head to head with their backs to the east and south walls of the pit. Their bones were less than completelt preserved, but in good arrangement."

"They were adorned with nose pieces identical in design their bits were a pair also, but they crumbled to dust when touched, with the wxception of very small fragments."

"TumKY 23,24: Bronze horses nose pieces
25 İron bit fragments"

"Appendix B by Sebastian Payne offers a special study of the equid skeletal material. See also discussion of a possible correlation with the NORŞUNTEPE Horse Burials."

"If we turn for confirmation to the trappings (TurnKY 23 and 24) in the associated Horse Burial, we find parallels for both form and decoration in Tumuli P and K-III. Perhaps the Horse burial, which certainly distinguishes KY from all the excavated pre-Kimmerian Burials at Gordion, may be thought of as a custom imported by the KIMMERINAS. The nose pieces TumKY23 and 24 may date within the active period of a bronze workshop which made the belt TumP35."

"The question of how a KIMMERIAN (or perhaps some other nomadic guest of mercenary of the KIMMERIAN period) came to be honnered with a Phrygian wooden chamber burial, and with some locally made Phrygian gifts including, expectedly, his pottery, but unexpectedly his Horse trapping, is a diffucult one. His belt with toggles and his tweezers were apparently his own, as these types are so far unknown in Gordion prior to the Destruction Level on the City Mound. KIMMERIANS were known to be both enemies of and mercenaries in behalf of the Assyrians and now perhaps we have evidence that some of them may have been friends or mercenaries to the Phrygians."

Bronze Horse's nose piece
TumKY 24 : Bronze Horse's nose piece
TumKY 25 : Iron fragments of Horse-bit

page 233
"...has SCYTHIAN affinities. Phrygian fibula and belts wree lacking. The skeleton lay among sherds of broken storage pots, plus the uncatalogued example on Fig.25G in the north half of the chamber. In the cap was a burned collection of mainly banqueting material: bronze cauldrons , an iron ladle handle, a painted dinos, an imported black on red bottle, and gray ware. Belts and Horse trappings appear to have been given also. More banqueting material, called the West Slope Deposit (TumH-31-53) continued straight up over the cap into the mantle while it was being built, suggesiting that banqueting went on for some time after the cap was laid.

Dating , linked to Tumuli F and K places J between 620 and 600 BC.

G.Körte's Tumulus II was situated at about the same contour- elevation as Tumuli H and I, and next to them on the souteast. In spite of being looted it appeared very rich. A large wooden chamber with floor-planks laid directly on clay pit floor , may have been installed inside an abandoned cellar as in the case of Tumulus B. The corner jointing of the chamber is not specifically described. It had a flat double roof, and some evidence for pegging together of wall beams (as in Tumulus METU II?) but such pegging has been found nowhere in the Pennsylvania excavations.

G.Körte believed that in K-II there was a built sarcophagus decorated with ivory-plaques and cymation strips of egg and dart. However, the presence of lead sealing and iron bands may mean that, since these were separated from the built sarcophagus, an additional log coffin like that in Tumulus B was present.

The rich contents found on and over the floor included jewelry, alabastra (figured and plain) pottery both imported and local ; important for dating are a "Waveline" amphora (K-II 26) and a wide-bodied Lydian lekythos slightly related to that in Tumulus M. These and the style of the egg-and-dart help to place the date close to 550 BC.

Tumulus C covered with its mantle several domestic and burial features, "West House" and three burials all of which predated the burning on the ridge. The main Phrygian burial for which Tumulus C was made was installed in the usual pit close to "West House", which had furnished material for the burial project.

The burial in C had been so very thoroughly looted that only pieces of chamber wall were left in a pit filled with stones and earth. But an empty space was apperent, once by a child's wooden coffin.

The pit (2.20 x 2.10 m at floor level) was paved with large flat stones matching those in the courtyard of "West House". The size of the chamber is theoretical and among the smalles of all those dug. The beams were evidently flawed or some were left with their taper, since several cakes of plaster were used as chinking or binding devices. LEft in the coffin cavity were scraps of human bone, thin iron bands, knucklebones, and fragments of an alabastron and lydia.

In the disturbed fill of the chamber were further pieces of the alabastron and lydia, and additional gifts, an animal-shaped vessel probably of Lydian origin, more pottery, and plaster cakes. Further fragments of beams plaster cakes, lead sealings from the coffin, fragments joining previously mentioned lydia, and the animal vessel were found mixed in several distinct piles of stone left on the looters working levels in the mantle. The assemblage belongs to a female child. The mantle was of earth (not clay) and built without guide walls.

The shapes of the pottery (Phrygian and Lydian) place Tumulus C chronologically before Tumulus A, a cremation of ca 540-525 BC and close to but after the fire on Küçük Höyük (546), Date of 546-540.

It is probably dangerous to draw sweeping conclusions about the tumulus cemeteries at Gordion without including the cremation tumuli. However a few statements can be made with reference to the inhumantion tumuli alone.

Tomb preparation, being a major undertaking in W, P and MM , the great early tumuli, was a drawn-out procedure. Perhaps at each death either a properly dug, pit or a reserved area in a platform of supporting earth, a stone side fill and the wall beams in place to the eaves had already been advanced to a stage awaiting the installation of a body with its gifts. At leasti after this much was accomplished the funereal procedure (perhaps with the lowest section of mast) were all that were immediately necessary. At some later time the clay can further propping the mast, and the clay or earth mantle could be added.

Except for Tumulus Z, which was large and needed a clay to support the stone "tower" it had in lieu of a mast, the lesser tumuli had no clay inter-caps over their stone caps, and except for occasional instances of stone guide walls in mantles, the later part of the processi the mantle-building was much simpler than in PRE-KIMMERIAN times.

Banqueting may be tied in with either or both of two processes. In W,MM and P, with their great masted mantles, the stone caps under them were free of gifts, and the paraphernalia of banqueating were placed in the tomb, with the corpse - which may mean that all the banqueting and gift giving took place within two or three days after the death of the occupant and before the roof beams were laid, unless trepanning and body preparation were practiced as with the SCYTHS.

By contrast in the lesser post-KIMMERIAN tumuli, all the pre-burial phases of preparation being the same, the body was disposed and banqueting may have begun immediately, as in earlier examples, since banqueting material is sometimes found in the grave-but it also must in some cases have contiuned after the laying of the roof and during the amassing of the stone cap, as now the paraphernalia of eating are sometimes found in the caps, and in J in a deposit continuing up well into the mantle.

Apropos of the subject of banqueting the colorations termed "mottled" "streaky buff" or "buff to black" found on the surfaces of some gray-ware vessels in the West Slope Deposit of Tumulus J may mean that TumJ 37-39 and 41-46, although of a fine ware, must have been allowed close to a cooking (?) fire. The only other large group of mottled gray ware came from Tumulus S-1 , where a fire caused by looters recolored the surfaces of the dinoi, low-necked jars, and some larger storage vessels. For this reason perhaps these "streaky-surfaced" vessels should not be considered a distinctive kind of ware.

Some extraordinary foreign relationships have been obeserved in three of the "lesser" inhumation tumuli. These are in KY (east group on the Northeast Ridge), Z (South Ridge) and J (west group on the Northeast Ridge)

The earlies of the three KY, is thought to be of the KIMMERIAN period for several reasons. Its Horse burial the presence in the gift assemblage of NON-PHRYGIAN implements such as tweezers, and the strange row of plaques to be sewn onto a toggled belt or other accounterment o cloth or leather, and the absence of fibula and Phrygian belt , argue that KY belonged to a nomadic guest or mercenary. Dating depends on the decoration of the Horse trappings, which is related to a belt in Tumulus P, and the KIMMERIAN habit of accompanying a human burial with a sacrifice of Horses.

The second Tumulus Z had elements in its carpentry seen in the PAZYRYK barrows. Its assemblage, however , consisted of the usual Phrygian gifts (some pre Kimmerians heirlooms and some contemporary post Kimmerian objects) except that belts and fibula were lacking. Z no doubt belonged to someone sharing ancestry with the people of the ALTAI who built 'caged' chambers.

By 620-600 Tumulus J again shows differentiation from Phrygian customs. The chamber was close to normal, but the assemblage contained SCYTHIAN weapons and cosmetic implements- again proper Phrygian belts and fibula were lacking. For this time, also the contents of the stone cap and the West Slope Deposit in the mantle showed evidence for a prolonged period of banqueting after the placement of the chamber roof.

If we analyze the contents of the rest of the inhumantions on the west side of the Northeast Ridge, looking for evidence of belts of the disk-and-studded type, or the solid type, or for fibulate of class XII, none appears for certain in the burials, beginning with pre-KİMMERİAN Tumulus G, and continuing chronologically through.
K-II and C date close to 546 BC. and both of them lack belts and fibula. Perhaps by this time of transition from the Lydian to the Persian period of influence, the old Phrygian accompaniments of the Tumulus W type of assemblage had ceased to be important. On the South Ridge also Tulumi S-3 and S-2 both failing within the Lydian period, show in spite of their looting, a change from the W assemblage."

Rodney Stuart Young (Archaeologist)
Young also opened 30 burial tumuli in Gordion, 
ranging in date from the 9th century BCE into Hellenistic times. ... 
Rodney Young died in a traffic accident in 1974.

Belongs to the Turkish tribe Saka Turks

Seals from Gordion

*Archaeological Investigations at Gordion: 


*1981, English, Book, Illustrated edition:
The Gordion excavations : 


An antefix with two leopards



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