Many excavations have been made on the site known as Troy, and many types of pottery and weapons have been found throughout the generations. However, some of the best known artifacts that have been found at Troy are a collection of artifacts known as Priam’s Treasure, and the always popular Trojan walls that are still standing today.
According to Homer’s poem, The Iliad, Priam was the king who had ruled over Troy during the famous war. Henry Schliemann confidently believed the ancient king had to have hidden his treasure somewhere within the city as to prevent the Ancient Greeks from stealing it, should they invade the city.
Around May of 1873, Schliemann was excavating the hill, Hissarlik, locating in northwestern Turkey. During his digging, Schliemann caught sight of a copper jug stuck within a wall from an old structure. Using his knife to dig the jug out, he noticed more copper, and even silver and gold accompanying it. In total, this hoard ended up consisting of numerous weapons and shields, jewelry, vases, goblets, and a cauldron. These findings have been dubbed as “Priam’s Treasure”.
These photographs show off the items known as Priam’s Treasure. The left shows all the items found, whereas the right pictures the jewelry portion of the treasure.
Much controversy later surrounded this treasure. At first, many doubted Schliemann’s claim that he had discovered everything in a single find, that it must have been spread out across the site. More controversy arose when it was discovered Schliemann smuggled the treasure out of Turkey, leading to the Turkish government suing Schliemann and banning him from continuing his excavation. Later on, Schliemann traded some of the treasure to the Turkish government in exchange that they allow him to excavate at the site again. The final controversy of this treasure arose after later archaeologists discovered the treasure to date around the time period of Troy II, whereas, the Homeric king was believed to be alive in Troy VI, hundreds of years later.
The Trojan Wall
One of the most well-known characteristics of the ancient city of Troy have to be the great walls that surrounded the city. Especially after the famous tale of the “Trojan Horse” from Homer’s epic poem, The Iliad. There have been findings that the Trojans could have used some sort of wall to protect the city, for almost every generation of Troy. The earlier civilizations started out by using stone bricks, stacked on top of each other for defense. Only around Troy VI did the Trojans start using cut limestone bricks. These walls were built 15 feet thick at the base, and 27 feet tall, with ramparts and watchtowers positioned throughout the perimeter. It’s easy to see just where the idea that Troy was a completely impenetrable fortress could have came from.
However, it was not a giant wooden horse that ended up conquering these walls. Instead, all it needed was some involvement from mother nature to take these walls down. Cracks in the stone reveal that a violent earthquake around 1300 BCE might be the leading cause to the downfall of Troy VI.
Photographs of the Trojan walls in modern time show the centuries wear and tear they have went through, and yet, still remain standing so many generations later.
Even though, nowadays, the walls are mere remnants of what they once were, they still continue to be a unique site long after the people that once lived here have moved on.