Site of Troy
The discovery and excavation of the Trojan citadel can be reckoned one of the most important events in archaeological field research. Troy was excavated by Schliemann, Dörpfeld and Blegen. Schliemann was obsessed with the idea of discovering the citadel of Priam in the Homer’s epic.
In 1870 he made the first spade thrust. Ten meters down, Schliemann’s notorious great North-South Trench revealed a brunt layer belonging to the second building period. This convinced him that he had discovered traces of the Trojan war. Thus he assumed that the golden works of art which he found in that layer were Priam’s treasure. The excavation of Troy took a fortunate turn in 1882. Therefore, Schliemann gained the collaboration of his colleague Wilhelm Dörpfeld. He had been in the Olympian excavation team and had acquired much valuable experience there.
Dörpfeld distinguished nine different layers of civilization. This division was confirmed and further elaborated by the American archaeologists who carried our fresh excavations at Troy under Carl W. Blegen from 1932 to 1938. The Americans approached the task with the more specialized techniques which archaeological progress had meanwhile developed. Through detailed observation they were able to subdivide Dörpfeld’s nine layers into no fewer than thirty habitation levels.
Archaeologists believe that Troy and Trojan War took place in the seventh layer (1300 BC – 900 BC) of the the settlement of Troy. As Homer’s story was written 500 years after the war, it is hard to say how much of it is history and how much is invention. Paris, the son of King Priam, fell in love with beautiful Helen and took her Troy. Helen’s husband Menelaus his brother Agamemnon attacked the Troy to get Helen back. The siege lasted 10 years, Achilles, Hector and Odysseus were the important characters of the legend. Odysseus ended the war with the trick of wooden horse.
Site of Troy
What you see in the site today depends on your imagination. There are remnants of massive walls, paved chariot ramp and great view of fertile plan, which was the harbor of the ancient Troy once, silted up by the the river Scamander. Considering Troy’s fame, the city is surprisingly small.