The latest announcement by the 45th session of the World Heritage Committee brought the great news for Turkey, as the ancient site of Gordion has just entered the UNESCO World Heritage List. This is the 20th site from this country on the prestigious List that marks the locations designated by UNESCO for having cultural, historical, scientific or other forms of significance.
The archaeological site of Gordion is located in an open rural landscape in Polatlı district of the central Ankara Province. The site contains the remains of the ancient capital of Phrygia, an Iron Age independent kingdom. The Phrygians were an ancient Indo-European speaking people who lived in central-western Anatolia in antiquity and developed an advanced Iron Age culture. From the humble tribal beginnings, the state of Phrygia arose in the 8th century BCE with its capital at Gordion where, ruled by the kings alternately named Midas and Gordias, the kingdom of the 8th and 7th centuries BCE maintained close trade contacts with the Greeks in the west and the neighbours in the east.
The archaeological site of Gordion includes the Citadel Mound, the Lower Town, the Outer Town, and Fortifications, as well as several burial mounds and tumuli with their surrounding landscape. A series of archaeological digs revealed Gordion as one of Turkey's most significant sites. The excavations confirmed a violent destruction of the city around 675 BCE.
Archaeological excavations and research have revealed a wealth of remains that document construction techniques, spatial arrangements, defensive structures, and inhumation practices. These remains shed light on Phrygian culture and economy. Most importantly, a burial place, popularly dubbed as the "Tomb of Midas", revealed a wooden structure deeply buried under a vast tumulus, containing grave goods, a coffin, furniture, and food offerings, now on display in the Museum of Anatolian Civilisations in Ankara.
One of the most spectacular finds from Gordion is a bronze cauldron (the 8th century BCE). It was found in Tumulus MM (for "Midas Mound"), the Great Tumulus, the largest burial mound at Gordion, standing over fifty meters high today, with a diameter of about three hundred meters. The cauldron has four attachments in the form of sirens – hybrids with human heads, shoulders, and arms, and bird wings and tails. Close measurement has shown that each of the sirens was cast from a different mould; later study has brought out the personality of each figure, which differs from that of her sisters. Details of hair, sleeve- and neck-borders of dresses, and feathers of wings and tails are rendered by copious surface engraving.