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To live and die in ancient Turkey.

To live and die in ancient Turkey

A cemetery is an unlikely place for the living to set up homes, but that is what happened near the ancient Turkish city of Gordion, capital of the Phrygian kingdom in the 8th century B.C. At that time, a rural community outside the city walls was built on top of a burial ground dating to approximately 1500 B.C., when the Hittites controlled central Turkey, says Gunlog E. Anderson of Wilson College in Chambersburg, Pa.

The evidence indicates "these people knew they were building houses in the middle of an ancient cemetery," Anderson asserts. The reasons for the macabre location remain unclear, she notes, buit inhabitants of the more than two dozen structures ironically may have been employed by Gordion's elite to construct elaborate royal burials, "the major public works of the day."

Each of the simple one- or two-room units under excavation by Anderson and her colleagues was recessed into the slope of a hill. The team has also uncovered hearths, baking areas and storage huts.

Residents of the site raised animals and pursued agriculture, Anderson says. Stone figures of people and birds found in two houses differ from the Phrygian style, suggesting the community included a mix of ethnic backgrounds.
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Title Annotation:excavation of an ancient cemetery
Author:Bower, Bruce
Publication:Science News
Date:Jan 13, 1990
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