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The Lydian Treasure

Architectural Terracottas

Architectural terracottas are an important source of information about the ancient architecture and architectural decoration in Anatolia during the 1st millennium BC. So far, studies on architectural roof tiles and revetments have been very much restficted to stylistic analysis of the decoration, an approach which has its limitations, especially in terms of dating. Only when considered in their architectural context will the tiles and revetments provide secure dating evidence.
Display structure with reproductions of Lydian revetment tiles, Sardis

The sites of Gordion, Pazarli, Duver, Akalan, Sardis and Larisa have provided the major group of terracotta roof tiles and revetments of the Anatolian Iron Age repertoire, and, problems of dating apart, architectural terracottas, both stylistically and functionally, potentially allow one to see the cultural interaction between Phrygians, Lydians, Persians, lonians and Aeolians in the 7th and 6th centuries BC. At present, the flow of the artistic currents cannot be clearly defined. Phrygian terracottas of the 6th century, for example, display a blend of Phrygian, Near Eastern and Greek motifs, but it should also be considered that Lydian workshops may have played an important part in the creation of the terracottas found at Gordion.
Reproductions of 6th century terracottas, made by the Sardis Expedition and mounted on a display structure, provide a striking visual effect, besides demonstrating the wide range of the motifs, figural, geometric and floral, that are found on such tiles, both at Sardis and elsewhere in Anatolia. The repertoire includes mythological figures, such as Theseus and the Minotaur, and Pegasos a Mistress of the Animals (Potnia Theron), an archer, confronting griffins, birds, a chariot scene, star and scroll motifs, and the diamond pattern which is used for the cover tiles.

Revetment plaque,
Duver, Burdur Museum

A reconstruction of
Pazarli revetments,
Museum of Anatolian Civilizations,

Revetment plaque, Akalan,
Istanbul Archaelogical Museums.


This site prepared by Tayfun Kalyoncu on 28.02.1997 and last updated on 01.05.1999.
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