Troy Archaeological Site


Location: Northeast Anatolia Map


Description of Troy Archaeological Site

Troy is an ancient archaeological site situated in northwest Anatolia in Turkey. Troy Archaeological Site was designated as UNESCO World Heritage Site for its role in history and literature. Thanks to blind Greek poet Homer who wrote the Iliad and the Odyssey, Trojan war became infamous in the world history. Despite its defeat from the hands of Greeks city of Troy was not completely extinguished. Many nations came and settled these lands. The city was inhabited till first century BC. However it was abandoned and left in ruins. Ancient literature was the only thing that kept memory alive. Eventually it took a status of legendary. Few people believed ancient city actually existed. Only in 1868, Heinrich Schliemann, wealthy German businessman and amateur archaeologist, finally discovered ruins of Troy.


Among contemporary historians Heinrich Schliemann was widespread hypothesis that Troy was on the site of the village Bunarbashi. The identity of Hissarlyk hill with Homer's Troy was suggested in 1822 by Charles MacLaren. A supporter of his ideas was Frank Calvert, who began excavations in Hissarlyk 7 years before Schliemann. Ironically, the site of the hill of Hissarlik belonged to Calvert, was in the side of the Homeric Troy. Heinrich Schliemann, who was familiar with Calvert, began a purposeful study of the second half of the Hissarlik hill in the late 19th century.

Most of Schliemann's finds after world war II were taken from Germany to the USSR (see trophy art). Priam's famous treasure had been lost for decades. Only in the 1990s it became clear that the artifacts discovered by Schliemann are stored in the Pushkin Museum and the State Hermitage Museum. Subsequent archaeologists have discovered at Hissarlik the marks of the nine fortresses-settlements that existed in different epochs.

The first of the settlements found in Hissarlyk (the so-called Troy I) was a fortress with a diameter of less than 100 m and apparently existed for a long period. The seventh layer belongs to the epoch described in the Iliad. During this period, Troy is a vast (area of over 200 thousand m2) settlement, surrounded by strong walls with nine-meter towers.

After Schliemann, excavations in Hissarl were carried out by Wilhelm Dorpfeld, Carl Blegen and Manfred Korfmann, who discovered the remains of the lower town around the hill. Large excavations in 1988 showed that the population of the city in the Homeric era was from six to ten thousand inhabitants — at the time, a very impressive number. According To the corfman expedition, the area of the lower city was about 170 thousand m2, the citadel-23 thousand m2 (which is 15 times more than the figures given by corfman's predecessors).

To attract tourists in the 1970s, a full-size model of the Trojan horse was erected on the territory of the archaeological zone. For a fee, visitors can climb inside.

The nine main strata of ancient Troy
Ancient Ilium stood on the shore of a shallow lagoon and controlled the crossing between Europe and Asia in one of the most convenient places for this, as well as the entrance to the Marmara and Black seas. When the lagoon drifted silt, this role passed to the North of the city of Byzantium (aka Constantinople). Hissarlyk hill, located 5 km from the modern coast, contains the remains of at least nine successive settlements:

Kumtepe or Troy 0-Neolithic settlement that existed in the vicinity of Troy.
Troy I (3000-2600 BC): the first Trojan settlement, 100 m in diameter, was built with very primitive dwellings made of clay bricks. Judging by the remaining traces, it died in the fire. Ceramics is similar to ceramics of the culture of the Lake in Bulgaria. D. Anthony connects it with the first wave of Indo-European settlement of Anatolia (ancestors of the Hittites, luvians, etc.).
Troy II (2600-2300 BC): The next settlement was for its time extremely developed and wealthy. It was protected by powerful walls (limestone from below, Adobe from above) with a height of 5 m and a width of 4 m, as well as a wooden fence. In 1873, the German archaeologist Schliemann discovered in this layer the famous Trojan treasure, which consisted of numerous weapons, copper trinkets, parts of precious jewelry, gold vessels, tombstones of the prehistoric and early historical period. In the III Millennium BC, this highly developed culture was also destroyed by fire.
Troy III-IV-V (2300-1900 BC): these layers indicate a period of decline in the history of the ancient city.
Troy VI (1900-1300 BC): the Upper city increased in diameter to 200 meters, the lower to 400 meters; the height of the walls reached 10 meters. The lower town was surrounded by a moat 4 m wide and 2 m deep. traces of the water supply system were Found. The settlement was the victim of a strong earthquake in 1300 BC.
Troy VII-A (1300-1200 BC): the famous Trojan war may belong to this period. The end of the settlement put the war: the streets of the lower city found unburied corpses, projectiles slingers, Aegean arrowheads.
Troy VII-B (1200-900 BC): Dilapidated Troy was captured by the Phrygians.
Troy VIII (900-350 BC): at this time the city was inhabited by alean Greeks. Numerous sights, reminiscent of the heroes of the Trojan war, attracted travelers to Troy. Among them is king Xerxes, who sacrificed more than 1,000 head of cattle here.
Troy IX (350 BC-400 ad): a Fairly large center of the Hellenistic era. The Romans, who considered themselves descendants of the Trojans, spared no expense in maintaining the shrines of the city in exemplary condition.