1. Recent Work at Gordion
Gordion is one of the few sites in the Middle East, outside of the Levant and Egypt, with ongoing archaeological excavations and research since 1950. Research at Gordion has always been highly innovative: for example, in the 1950s Gordion provided some of the first radiocarbon samples to the new radiocarbon lab at the University of Pennsylvania Museum, and early magnetometer studies were conducted by Elizabeth Ralph, the director of the Museum Applied Science Center, on the Citadel Mound. More recently, multidisciplinary environmental, analytic, and chronometric projects have advanced new methods.
With a long history of research and excavation, Gordion provides an exceptional opportunity to study specific historical and archaeological questions. For example, studies of both new and previously excavated material are providing insights into the exchange systems of the 1st millennium BC and early centuries AD. Despite its inland location (Chapter 4 this volume), Gordion was closely linked to Eastern Mediterranean trade networks. New evidence also reveals shifting trade alliances and exchange with groups to the east (Chapter 8 this volume).
Gordion is also one of the key sites in central Anatolia that offer a long occupation sequence from the Early Bronze Age to the early 1st millennium AD (Voigt 1997). With a selection of widely dispersed sites like Gordion, BoĞazköy, Alişar, and Sardis, we are beginning to understand the nature of early civilizations during the Late Bronze and Iron Ages. How did Gordion interact with the Hittite Empire? How did the Phrygians and Midas create and consolidate a new state in central Anatolia? What was its economic basis? How did it fit into the regional economic and political structures of the day? These are questions that the research presented here is beginning to answer.
From a methodological point of view, Gordion also has brought together researchers who bridge several archaeological and material science disciplines. Interest in the site was originally stimulated by historical accounts, such as those of Herodotus and later Greek and Roman authors, but since about 1985 a broader set of questions about the Phrygians and their landscape has developed. Alongside archaeological research, Gordion has also become an important center for innovations in site and monument conservation (Chapters 15-17 this volume).
For all of these reasons, and others, research at Gordion is significant not only to those with specific interests in ancient Anatolia, but also to a wider range of people interested in more general processes of cultural interaction, state development and collapse, as well as the practicalities of how people protect sites and artifacts for future generations.
This book aims to present an accessible summary of much of the recent research on Gordion and the Phrygians. While the University of Pennsylvania Museum Monographs on Gordion provide a scholarly venue for individual, detailed studies, no summaries of the current research at the site are available. This book seeks to fill that void. Compiling all current research at Gordion is beyond the scope of this project, but the chapters provide a substantial sample of the range of ongoing research projects for the University of Pennsylvania Museum's Gordion Project. The wide range of research at Gordion is grouped here into four sections: site history and excavations, artifact analyses, regional survey, and site and artifact conservation.