500 m west of the Konya highway and Çiftlik road junction, on the south of the Çiftlik road, lays the Great Tumulus. With a preserved diameter of 125 m and height of 24 m, this is the largest known tumulus of the Phrygian Necropolis in Ankara (Fig. I-1 and I-2).
The GreatTumulus was investigated byT. Makridi in 1925 but the excavation was left unfinished because of the danger that the tunnel they dug might collapse (Makridi, T. 1926: 38-45).The Great Tumulus was the main focus of the METU Phrygian Necropolis Project, the location of the burial chamber was determined by the use of geophysical techniques before the commencement of excavation (Buluç, S. 1979: 12).
The Burial Chamber: Information regarding construction techniques are limited because its ceiling had collapsed and the chamber was filled with large stones (Figure I-3). The size of the chamber is approximately 3.5 x 4.5 m. and stands 1.55 m. above the ground. Its floor is wooden on a stone paved ground. Joints at two corners of the chamber are in the form of Çalmaboğaz (Figure I-4a), while those at the other two are Kurtboğazı (Figure 4b), a construction technique commonly used in Anatolia.
Finds: Grave goods left in the chamber seem to have been discretely divided; bronze artifacts were found in an area from middle of the northern wall to the eastern corner whereas pottery by the central portion of the northern wall towards west and in front of the western wall (Figure I-6). Some bones of the skeleton were in front of the eastern wall, 22 fibulae and some bronze fragments possibly of a belt helped to identify how the deceased was placed and in which direction the body was left (Figure I-7).
In a large cauldron, placed in the southwestern corner of the room, fibulae and decorated pots were uncovered (Fig. I-8, I-9, I-10). A second cauldron containing bronze pitchers was adjacent to the first (Figure I-11). On the rim of this cauldron textile fragments were detected, which might indicate that the grave goods were covered with cloth. In front of the northern wall, towards the middle,were two tripods; on one a cauldron stood upside down while many bronze vessels were scattered around the other (Fig. I-12, I-13). In the same area, wooden pieces about 5 cm thick and bowls with omphalos bases (phiale) were found (Fig. I-14, I-15). According to the way the bronze artifacts were found, it is understood that they were actually standing on a table or shelf.
Grave goods left in front of the northern wall display a great variety with small jars, amphorae, lebes type vessels, spouted vessels, and flat-based pitchers with pedestals (Buluç, S. 1979: 15-16).Two of the black burnished lebes vessels were found with bronze plates covering their mouths. Ashy remains collected from the lebes vessels were analyzed and identified as cooked food remains. Analyses again showed that amphorae and jars (Figure I16) from the northwestern wall also contained food and drinks (Buluç, S. 1979:15-16).
So many materials gathered at the same spot might indicate the presence of a long table under which the jars might have been placed. Additionally, a piece of a handle stuck to the wall and the trace of a pan over the wall point to the possibility of some gifts having been hung on the wall with nails or pegs.
Towards the middle of the chamber, near to the southern wall, there are many square shaped wooden fragments which could belong to furniture with decorative inlay.
The burial chamber dates to the end of 8th century BC based on the findings, especially the fibulae types (Mellink, M.J. 1981: 63 ff; Kohler, E.L. 1995: 191 ff).