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Gordion archaeological site and museum: a critique

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2019
Ecemiş Özbilen, Deniz
Gordion is one of the most important archaeological sites, both because it was the cultural and political capital of Phrygia and has been the most excavated and studied Phrygian site so far. Despite the fact that Phrygians have a deep-rooted place in the history of Anatolia, and despite the inherited cultural heritage, they have not been able to go beyond a couple of legends and characters in the social memory. This thesis examines the Gordion archaeological site and museum by focusing on the concepts of archaeology, museum and cultural memory. It is aimed to study the Gordion Archaeological Museum by placing the processes of the archaeological excavations, construction of the on-site museum, and Gordion as a cultural landscape into the context of the evolution of archaeology and museology from the mid-19th century in the Ottoman Empire to the mid-20th century in Republic of Turkey. Within the scope of the thesis, the Phrygians –which still maintain their physical and cultural traces in the Anatolian lands– and the capital Gordion are discussed extensively. Based on the history of the Gordion Archaeological Museum and the archaeological excavations carried on since 1950, an answer to the question “Why the knowledge about Gordion, which had been settled by various civilizations for centuries, cannot go beyond a few public figures and legends?’ is provided through an analysis of the architectural, sociological, and cultural details.