ACL Project List

Conserving Gordion’s Mosaic Pavements

In 1956-7 the world’s oldest extant mosaic pavement was discovered at Gordion. Measuring approximately 32’ x 35’ and covering the entire floor of a large Megaron, the 9th c BCE pavement of small red, blue, white and black pebbles is an exquisite complex geometric patterning of overlapping designs possibly depicting woven textiles for which the city was so famous. Ongoing excavations of the Citadel in the 1960s resulted in the removal of the mosaic pavement to the local Gordion museum. Unlike later classical and Byzantine mosaics, the Gordion mosaics were laid in clay—not lime mortars—and their transfer proved difficult for then current practices. Set in cement, their current display is disfiguring and the materials and environment are causing deterioration of this world class example of ancient mosaic art.


Project Goals and Objectives

The mosaic conservation program is a multi-phase project to be executed over three years with generous support from the Kaplan Fund and 1984 Foundation. The program seeks to not only address the immediate remedial conservation needs of the Megaron 2 mosaic but also to study its technology to expand the knowledge of mosaic development in the ancient world and to use that information to produce a replica for display on the site of its removal. Once the mosaic is conserved and the site replica reproduced, a known undisturbed pavement within the Mosaic Building will be partially exposed to study its condition and possible exposure (providing its protection can be guaranteed). A traveling exhibit, publication and video are also planned to document the entire process as a cultural and social activity.



Removal and burial of the exquisite Phrygian mosaic pavements have challenged the study and enjoyment of both pavements by professionals and the visiting public. The site’s decreased plan legibility has made the proposed multi-phase project of documentation, research, conservation and installation of a replica of the Megaron 2 mosaic critical in improving visitor experience and increasing knowledge of mosaic development in the ancient world. This process will further allow the participation of the local village residents and students to work together in a way not explored during the early or current years of the excavation. Remedial conservation and community participation are integral in safeguarding important sites such as Gordion and its architectural treasures.

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