Ivory and Bone Objects from Gordion (Turkey) (15 min)


Phoebe Sheftel, Philadelphia Society


The ivory objects from Gordion are a significant addition to the corpus of decorative pieces from important sites around the eastern Mediterranean. They illustrate both widely dispersed features common in other contemporary ivory-working centers, as well as the singular motifs and styles that developed in the Phrygian milieu. A unique assemblage of ivory horse trappings from the early Phrygian citadel are an important illustration of this cultural confluence. While bone was primarily used for strictly utilitarian objects, there are numerous pieces that show this lowly material could be used for high quality items such as inlays set into the wooden furniture exceptionally attested at Gordion. Even astragals decorated with incised designs and letters give a glimpse into the daily life in the community. Several interesting object types, while quite common at Gordion, continue to pose a mystery as to their function.