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The Golden Age of King Midas

February 13, 2016 – November 27, 2016

Penn Museum, 3260 South Street, Philadelphia, PA 19104


The Penn Museum is scheduled to host a noteworthy and exclusive exhibition titled The Golden Age of King Midas, which will feature a spectacular array of specially-loaned ancient artifacts from the Republic of Turkey. These artifacts are the keys to telling the true story of King Midas, a very real, very powerful ruler of the Phrygian kingdom in what is now central Turkey. (David Barchard wrote about the Phyrigian highlands in Issue 39.)

Since 1950, archaeologists from the Penn Museum (the University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology) have been excavating at the important ancient site of Gordion, the city in which King Midas lived c 750–700 BCE. A rich site, Gordion is particularly known for being home to a series of wealthy tombs belonging to Phrygian royalty and elites. In fact, the Penn Museum excavated a spectacular tomb, the Tumulus MM (Midas Mound), which is the oldest standing wooden building in the world and believed to be the final resting place of King Midas’s father Gordias.

Now housed in Turkish Museums in Ankara, Istanbul, Antalya and Gordion, most of the extraordinary artefacts found in this tomb, such as bronze bowls, serving vessels and wooden tables, have never before travelled to the United States. For the first time, about 120 objects from Turkey, primarily from Tumulus MM and hand selected by exhibition curator Dr C Brian Rose, Penn Museum’s Gordion Archaeological Project Director, will come to Philadelphia for this limited-time engagement.


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