Category Archives: Turkey

Portraying Nippur: Artist Osman Hamdi Bey’s Early Relationship with the Penn Museum

"At the Mosque Door"

The Penn Museum is perhaps best known for its impressively large and varied collection of artifacts spanning practically the entirety of human existence, but recently visitors were given a special chance to step into the Museum Archives to learn about some unexpected items housed in the Museum—two paintings and the unique ties they have to […]

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Yassıhöyük Village: Where and when did the villagers come from?

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About 100 years ago the earliest known inhabitants of the Yassıhöyük village arrived there from different regions of Anatolia, and settled near the banks of the Sakarya river that flowed through the ancient settlement of Gordion. The early subsistence base was animal husbandry supplemented by farming cereals with horse and iron-tipped wooden plough, a threshing […]

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A Summer Day in the Village of Yassıhöyük

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Farmers and shepherds begin work at daybreak. Fields surround the village in a 2-5 km distance. At daybreak, with the call to prayer local farmers are on tractors and modern harvesters; lorries start rolling across the landscape loaded with migrant workers that include women and children. In the fields wheat and barley are checked for […]

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A Short Tour of Yassıhöyük (Gordion) Village

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Generally, when visitors arrive at Gordion, they see the monumental Midas Mound, the tomb of the Phrygian king, and the Museum where a collection of excavated artifacts are displayed. Next to the Museum is the tea-house, “çayevi”, where tea, cold drinks and freshly baked thin-layered crusty bread, (gözleme), and pita type bread (bazlama) are served […]

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Meet Ayşe Gürsan-Salzmann, Assistant Director of the Gordion Project

Ayşe interviewing at Hamidiye village

In 1995 I joined the Gordion Archaeological Project to study the socio-economic structure of the traditional villages in the region. The ultimate goal was to inform the ancient economic practices of the Phrygian kingdom, using the method of ethnographic analogy from the nearby contemporary villages, to help interpret the archaeological evidence. The ancient economy was […]

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Self-guided walking tours for visitors to Gordion, Turkey

Jane, me, and Beth checking the view from Tumulus P. Photo by Carolyn Aslan.

In earlier posts (August 3, 2012 and August 8, 2014), I mentioned the Gordion “ecopark” project’s goal of preserving regional biodiversity, the historical landscape, and the archaeological site itself. One part of the project concerns visitor education. I first visited Gordion as a tourist in 1983 and began archaeobotanical fieldwork there in 1988. I have […]

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Soft Vegetative Roof Capping at Gordion: A Tutorial Video

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Archaeobotanists usually deal with dead plants, but as I was finishing my research on the ancient plant remains at Gordion, an ongoing project of the Penn Museum, I became involved in a bigger project: preserving regional biodiversity, the historical landscape, and the archaeological site itself through the management of the native vegetation. The approach sees […]

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Archives Photo of the Week: Happy Turkey Day!

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Happy Turkey Day! … What, you expected an actual turkey? This week’s photo is a view of Istanbul (then Constantinople) and the Galata Bridge. The Galata Bridge spans the Golden Horn, an inlet of the Bosphorus Strait, the waterway that separates Europe and Asia. The Galata Bridge is now in it’s fifth build, with this photograph showing the […]

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Angora Goats in Yassıhöyük, Turkey, Near Gordion

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Ayşe knows everyone in the Yassıhöyük, and one of her friends is Metin the shepherd. Last year, he sold all his sheep and replaced them with a herd of (mostly) angora goats—the kind of goat that produces mohair—which I guess makes him a goat herder. We went out to the corral to watch him prepare […]

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Suburban Development Threatens Archaeological Site in Gordion, Turkey

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The Penn Museum project at Gordion has been working to preserve the site and over 100 related burial mounds (“tumuli”) that constitute an amazing historical landscape. Agricultural and suburban development are destroying the rural character of the region at a rapid rate, and an immediate threat to the archaeological remains is caused by plowing and irrigating of many […]

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Beneath the Surface at the Penn Museum