The genesis of Timber Trusses: “Unexpected” Affinities between Roofs Carpentry in Etruria and Phrygia during the Antiquity

The genesis of wooden trusses is a very controversial issue as the archaeological data, scarce and incomplete, are not very explicit.
Indirect pieces of evidence of roof carpentry organized according to a truss system seem to have been found, at least from the Iron Age, in the Mediterranean basin. However, these are isolated cases that probably did not have a decisive influence on the evolution of the roofs of the immediately following eras.
Full awareness of the potential and a systematization occurred in the Roman scope, and only in the Late Antiquity, there was a notable widespread, especially in the basilicas, of such an organization of the roof structure.
In the concept process of the trusses, a considerable contribution is to be recognized to the Etruscan and Phrygian civilizations. Besides having in common an advanced development of timber structures, these cultures show diverse “coincidences” in material culture. In fact, for both peoples, relying on the iconography of figurative products, the articulation of the roof carpentry widely used in Antiquity is comparable, at least in the essential members and in their arrangement, to a truss.
The contribution also provides data, with particular regard to those of a constructive nature, about the oldest existing wooden carpentry, dating back to the Early Phrygian period and belonging to the roof of the burial chamber of the “MM” tomb of the ancient city of Gordion (present-day Yassıhöyük village, in Anatolia).