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Gordion is one of the most important archaeological sites in the Near East, occupied for more than 4,000 years from the Bronze Age to modern times. It had a strategically important location in what is now Central Turkey (100 km southwest of Ankara). Its heyday was in the first half of the first millennium BCE when it was the royal capital of the powerful Iron Age kingdom known as Phrygia to the Greeks and Mushki to the neighboring Assyrian empire. It was a major center of population, with an urban fabric spread over two kilometers, dominated by monumental buildings and fortifications and over 100 elite burial mounds. Its fabled king Midas, in myth cursed with asses' ears and the "golden touch," was actually a real figure, and it was here too that Alexander the Great was said to have cut the famous Gordian Knot. Since 1950, Gordion has been extensively investigated by the University of Pennsylvania and other institutions, in over 30 annual excavation campaigns. These investigations, on a scale rivaled by few other archaeological projects, have uncovered an impressive portion of the physical fabric of this major administrative center, and furnished unusually plentiful material for evaluating many attributes of life and society in those distant times. As important, the evidence highlights gaps in our understanding, framing fascinating questions for future research to resolve.
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