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Incised Drawings from Early Phrygian Gordion

Incised Drawings from Early Phrygian Gordion: Gordion Special Studies IV

Lynn E. Roller
Copyright Date: 2009
Pages: 192
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  • Book Info
    Incised Drawings from Early Phrygian Gordion
    Book Description:

    In 1950, the University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology began excavations at the ancient Phrygian capital of Gordion in central Turkey. The Museum's Gordion Project continues today, with researchers from many disciplines and with many specializations contributing to a growing-and sometimes changing-body of information and understanding about this complex and multifaceted site, inhabited by peoples and diverse civilizations for millennia. In this volume of Gordion Special Studies, Lynn E. Roller focuses on a series of stone blocks with incised figural and abstract drawings recovered from early Phrygian structures at Gordion. The great majority of the incised stones come from a single structure within the Early Phrygian citadel at Gordion known as Megaron 2, a stone building with several remarkable features and a likely candidate for the citadel's temple. The volume begins with a description of the excavation of the stones and a discussion of Megaron 2. Next is an analysis of the subject matter of the drawings by type, describing scenes of human figures, animals, architectural drawings, geometric patterns, and formless marks. A discussion follows of the sources from which the drawings could have been taken and of parallels with similar scenes and designs on objects in other media from Gordion and other contemporary sites in Anatolia. The fourth section proposes an explanatory hypothesis on the origin of the drawings, and considers who could have made them and why. Parallels with comparable drawings from Anatolia and the Near East are discussed here. The final section summarizes the contribution of the drawings to our understanding of the development of the Early Phrygian material at Gordion.

    eISBN: 978-1-934536-52-0
    Subjects: Archaeology

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. List of Illustrations
    (pp. ix-x)
  4. Preface and Acknowledgments
    (pp. xi-xiv)
  5. I. Commentary on the Incised Drawings from Early Phrygian Gordion

    • Introduction
      (pp. 1-2)

      This study presents for publication a series of stone blocks with incised drawings recovered from the Early Phrygian Destruction Level at Gordion. The great majority of the incised stones come from a single building in the Destruction Level, Megaron 2. Most were recovered from Megaron 2 itself, either blocks still in place in the walls at the time of the megaron’s excavation or blocks found lying nearby, where they had fallen from the building’s walls. A few incised blocks found in the clay fill above Megaron 2 probably also came from this building. Two incised blocks formed part of the...

    • 1 Excavation of the Incised Stones
      (pp. 3-8)

      In 1956 the excavations conducted by Rodney S.Young on the Citadel Mound at Gordion began to clear an area of individual buildings forming part of a large architectural complex that lay underneath a thick layer of clay several meters deep. This level, marked by extensive signs of burned debris, would later be called the Early Phrygian Destruction Level¹¹ (Fig. 3). Excavation in the Destruction Level during previous seasons (1953–1955) had revealed significant architectural remains of an elaborate gate complex and a small courtyard inside the gate. As Young continued to clear the area inside the gate complex, a series...

    • 2 Technique and Subject Matter of the Drawings
      (pp. 9-18)

      Let us turn our attention now to the character of the drawings on the incised stones. The drawings were incised directly onto the poros blocks, a fairly soft stone that can be scratched with just about any type of sharp tool. The placement of the drawings on the blocks is quite irregular: no effort was made to center the drawings on the blocks or frame them in any way. In some cases (examples include 1, 5, 8, 10, 12, 29, 59, 67, 82, 93, 94, 99, 104) the incision work covers the whole front surface of the block, while in...

    • 3 Subject Matter of the Incised Drawings: Sources and Possible Meanings
      (pp. 19-38)

      As the preceding discussion illustrates, the incised drawings are varied in technique, subject matter, and degree of artistic sophistication. These circumstances undoubtedly reflect both the variety of source material that influenced the drawings and a variety of motivations for incising them. Several drawings show distinct influences from artistic traditions outside Phrygia, while others portray themes that express local interests. Some of the drawings illustrate themes that also occur in other media, including stone sculpture, pottery decoration, and bronze and wooden objects. Some indicate familiarity with a complex iconographic tradition, but others probably represent the personal whim of the inciser. I...

    • 4 Origin of the Drawings and Their Placement on Megaron 2
      (pp. 39-46)

      We now come to the question of when and why were the drawings incised onto the walls of Megaron 2 and the Citadel Gateway, and by whom.¹⁷¹ One thing seems certain: the drawings were not part of an intentional program of decoration, but were incised without regard for the final appearance of the walls. Indeed, the presence of stones with multiple drawings done one on top of another, stones with random lines over figured scenes, and stones with gouges probably intended to delete the figured drawings (44 and 58 provide good examples) suggest the opposite, that the drawings are the...

    • 5 Conclusion: Contribution of the Drawings to an Assessment of Early Phrygian Cultural Development
      (pp. 47-50)

      Despite their rather haphazard character, the Megaron 2 drawings, together with the one complex drawing from the Early Phrygian Citadel Gateway, give us valuable insights into a range of visual themes of interest to the Phrygians at Gordion during a pivotal stage in the development of the city. This insight is accidental: the fire that destroyed the Early Phrygian Citadel and preserved the stones with drawings appears to be the result of random chance, not a conscious event.¹⁹⁸ It is therefore all the more interesting to consider what the drawings reveal about the status of Phrygian artistic development in the...

  6. II Catalogue of Stones with Incised Drawings from Early Phrygian Gordion
    (pp. 51-100)

    The catalogue entries are organized according to the find spot of the stones. The first group, much the largest, comprises those incised stones found on or fallen from the walls of Megaron 2. These are arranged according to their position on the walls: first are those from the east wall, the left side as one faces the building; next are those from the south or back wall of the building.²¹⁰ No stones from the west or right wall of the building were preserved or inventoried, so none is included in the catalogue. Following the catalogue entries of the Megaron 2...

  7. III Figures, Including Photographs of Stones 1–105
    (pp. 101-158)
  8. IV. Concordances

    • 1. Catalogue Number to Gordion Inventory Number
      (pp. 159-160)
    • 2. Gordion Inventory Number to Catalogue Number
      (pp. 161-162)
    • 3. Incised Stone Drawings: Subjects
      (pp. 163-166)
    • 4. Subjects Found in the Incised Stone Drawings
      (pp. 167-168)
  9. Bibliography
    (pp. 169-174)
  10. Index
    (pp. 175-177)