Bin Tepe

Bin Tepe: place near Sardes where theĀ kings of Lydia were buried.

Bin Tepe, general view
Bin Tepe, general view

The tumuli of the Lydian royal cemetery at Bin Tepe ("thousand hills") can be found a bit north of Sardes. It was not uncommon in ancient Anatolia to bury a king in an artificial hill (e.g., there are similar tumuli at Troy and Gordium), and Lydia was no exception. Several hills have been investigated, such as the one that may have been the last resting place of king Gyges (ruled c.680-644), the founder of the Mermnad dynasty. The burial chamber was found empty.

The tumulus of Alyattes (ruled c.600-c.560) has a diameter of 355 meters and is no less than 69 meters high. It was erected by his son Croesus and can be identified because it is described by the Greek researcher Herodotus of Halicarnassusnote and the geographer Strabo of Amasia.note The hills must have belonged to the most impressive monuments of the Aegean world. In Antiquity, these mounds were probably crowned by giant phalloi.

This page was created in 2003; last modified on 4 May 2018.