Recent excavations at the Troy of legend in Turkey’s northwestern Çanakkale province reveal a much older history than previously thought. According to archaeologists, Troy may have been a power in the region six centuries earlier than was thought.
A report this week from the Daily Sabah tells of another layer of history beneath the 9 previous layers unearthed by teams of scientists over the decades. Rustem Aslan from the Archeology Department of Canakkale Onsekiz Mart University (COMU) says the city destroyed and rebuilt generation after generation, has been designated “Troy O”.
A total of 10 layers of settlements, or cities, had been discovered as a result of 156 years of archaeological excavations carried out in the city in the south of the Dardanelles. With each successive layer archaeologists since Heinrich Schliemann named and numbered the layers from Troy I to Troy XI.
Schliemann was an innovator, was an advocate of the historicity of places mentioned in the works of Homer and an archaeological excavator of Hisarlik. Now, his breakthrough discovery proves to a mystery even still. This new layer may date to 3,500 BC., which would open the door for a rewriting of early history. As for the latest discovery concerning the Troy of legend, Aslan told the Daily Sabah.
“We found traces of burns, pottery and wooden beams in the Troy 0 layer. This shows that the settlement’s history dates back to some 5,500 years before our day,” Aslan explained. In other words, the new discoveries indicate that the storied city was likely founded around the year 3,500 BC.”
Troy was at the center of the epic Greek Trojan War in which Spartan and Achaean warriors laid siege to the city in the 13th century B.C. The legendary war was immortalized by the Greek poet Homer in his epic poem The Illiad.
Interestingly, English archaeologist Frank Calvert, the local expert who helped Schliemann fell out with the notorious archaeologist over whether or not the Trojan War was represented in the layers of Troy. The Turkish government had declared 2018 the “Year of Troy” in honor of the 20th anniversary of the ancient city’s recognition as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Schliemann found a famous cache of gold and other objects in 1873, which the controversial archaeologist named “Priam’s Treasure”. His young wife Sophia Schliemann (left) became famous for wearing what observers at the time called “Helen’s jewels.” Further discoveries at the real Troy of legend may reshape our view of this fascinating ancient city and our world.
Another interesting footnote here, before Rustem Aslan’s team, started their excavations, an international team made up of cross-disciplinary experts led by William Aylward, an archaeologist at the University of Wisconsin-Madison was stopped before it started by the Turkish government. A new technique known as “molecular archaeology” was to be employed on that dig. In 2014, it was announced that a new excavation would take place to be sponsored by a private company and carried out by Çanakkale Onsekiz Mart University.
Troy, and all the mystique that surrounds it, still provides a level of intrigue and wonder.
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