It was said that all he touched turned to gold. But destiny eventually caught up with the legendary King Midas, and a long-lost chronicle of his ancient downfall appears to have literally surfaced in Turkey.
Last year, archaeologists were investigating an ancient mound site in central Turkey called Türkmen-Karahöyük. The greater region, the Konya Plain, abounds with lost metropolises, but even so, researchers couldn’t have been prepared for what they were about to find.
A local farmer told the group that a nearby canal, recently dredged, revealed the existence of a large strange stone, marked with some kind of unknown inscription.
“We could see it still sticking out of the water, so we jumped right down into the canal – up to our waists wading around,” says archaeologist James Osborne from the University of Chicago.
“Right away it was clear it was ancient, and we recognised the script it was written in: Luwian, the language used in the Bronze and Iron ages in the area.”
With the aid of translators, the researchers found that the hieroglyphs on this ancient stone block – called a stele – boasted of a military victory. And not just any military victory, but the defeat of Phrygia, a kingdom of Anatolia that existed roughly 3,000 years ago.
The royal house of Phrygia was ruled by a few different men called Midas, but dating of the stele, based on linguistic analysis, suggests the block’s hieroglyphics could be referring to the King Midas – he of the famous ‘golden touch’ myth.