The word ‘Troia’ has different writing and pronunciation versions in different languages. In Turkish Language it is known as ‘Troya’ and also as ‘Truva’ like the French pronunciation since the 19th century. In Iliad, it was called both Troia and Ilios. The name ‘Troia’ was used for 49 times, whereas Ilios for 106 times. Although the name ‘Holy Ilios’ occurs very often in the Iliad, the name ‘Troia’ is used less frequently. The latter appears together with adjectives like ‘surrounded by strong walls’, ‘has strong towers’, ‘has wide streets’ and ‘windy’. These two names used for the city go back to the times much earlier than Homer. The legend reaches to Homer by oral tradition.
Troia is close to the valley of Karamenderes (Skamander), where the river falls into the Aegean Sea on the Asian side of the Dardanel. It is the biggest and the most important prehistoric settlement in this region. The mound of Troia is located on a plateau, which is 20-25m higher than Karamenderes Valley made of alluvium. The plateau has a triangular shape and had a strategic defensive position around 3000 B.C. In this period the sea was reaching the northern side of the mound. In the Bronze Age, which lasted 2000 years, the cultural fill is up to 15m high. Troia was settled through thousands of years and thus experienced many battles and destructions due to its strategic position between the two continents (Asia & Europe) and two seas (the Aegean and the Black Sea).
- Heinrich Schliemann
The successful businessman Heinrich Schliemann, after long perusal of the Iliad, found himself fully convinced that the Troia (W)Ilios of Homer lay beneath the Roman settlement visible on the 150 x 200 m-mound of Hisarlık ( = fortified mound) just south of the straits of the Dardanelles (the Hellespont) on a limestone tableland between the rivers of the Scamander (Kara Menderes) and the Simoeis (Dümrek), only 4.5 km from the Dardanelles and six kilometers from the Aegean Coast, therefore in a most strategic position. Frank Calvert, who had taken up residence in the area, had already concluded that Hisarlık was a settlement mound representing many centuries of deposit; he had even opened some small sondages (1863-1865) with the conviction that the Troia celebrated by Homer lay here.
- The First Nine Campaigns
From 1871 to 1894 (following preliminary sondages in 1870) the first nine excavation campaigns took place with magnanimous effort. Schliemann, who invested large sums from his private estate to the cause, remained in charge until 1890; he immediately pronounced Troia II, where he believed he had found the “Treasure of Priam”, the Troia of the Iliad. After Schliemann’s decease, the architect Wilhelm Dörpfeld, his assistant and architect for the project, continued in 1893 and 1894. It was Dörpfeld who exposed the impressive fortifications of Troia VI, which he then interpreted as “the Homeric Troia.”
Schliemann was an individual with many interests, “possessed” by some of them, and his relationships with others, as well as with his finds—the “Treasure” in particular—has led to various condemnations. Looking back today, we may justify some of this criticism, for it appears that he was on one hand a dedicated scholar, but on the other a “treasure-seeker” who illicitly spirited valuable finds out of the country.
These early campaigns represent the first step into a “Newland”’ of methodical archaeological excavation. We should thus be neither too surprised nor too critical of some significant contexts that were inadvertently overlooked and lost. During his work in Troia Schliemann quickly learned to separate individual strata and distinguish diagnostic forms among the pottery so richly represented in them. Truly cooperating with him in deed as well as word were the Consul Frank Calvert (scholar and collector), Rudolph Virchow (pathologist, anthropologist and prehistorian), and Wilhelm Dörpfeld (architect).
The successive building levels were numbered I – IX from the lowest upward; for this perceptive division we must thank the careful observation of Dörpfeld. Even in these early days, a fair share of scientific scholarship was introduced—and a fine example for future archaeologists was also set by a thorough survey of the surroundings during these early campaigns at Hisarlık. Trenches were opened at Pasha Tepe, Beşik-Sivritepe and other tumuli (burial mounds), as well as soundings at the settlement mounds of Hanay Tepe and Karaağaç Tepe.
The excavations at Troia awakened a new enthusiasm for archaeological “digs” in the public eye, and the experience gained in the Schliemann Excavations opened the way for true discipline in archaeological fieldwork. Even today the results of these early campaigns remain the basis for continuing work at the site as well as a keystone for other excavations, particularly those in northwestern Turkey and the bordering regions.
The majority of the finds from the first nine campaigns were distributed among the Museums of Istanbul, Athens, and Berlin. For educational purposes, close “twins” among the more than 10,000 objects were taken to Berlin were then distributed among museums and university collections throughout Europe. The most outstanding pieces from Berlin were taken to Moscow and St. Petersburg during World War II; many of those remaining, of course, were lost or damaged in the war (ca. 50%). Today, finds from these early campaigns are spread over some 50 museums and collections worldwide.
In 1924, small-scale excavations in the area of Beşik Baywere undertaken by Wilhelm Dörpfeld, Oscar Mey and Martin Schede. There on the coastline, today silted up, lay the Aegean harbor of Troia. Investigated as well were the neighboring tumuli of Üvecik Tepe and Beşik-Sivritepe.
- The Tenth through Sixteenth Campaigns
These next seven campaigns at Troia took place between 1932 and 1938 under the leadership of Carl W. Blegen and the University of Cincinnati (USA). With improved excavation techniques and methods, the team was able to subdivide the phases into a total of 46 building levels. Blegen identified Level VII a (now reevaluated as Level VI i) with the city of the Trojan War. During these campaigns as well, investigation in the surroundings continued (including excavation at Kumtepe undertaken in cooperation with Hâmit Zübeyr Koşay, as well as at Karajur Tepe, Ballı Dağ, and Eski Hisarlık).
The finds from these seven campaigns are housed in the Archaeological Museums of Istanbul and Çanakkale.
Following a year of survey (1981) in the area, from 1982 to 1987, excavation in the north of the now silted-up Beşik Bay were undertaken under Manfred Korfmann (Tübingen University). Investigated during these annual campaigns were the sites of Beşik-Sivritepe, Beşik-Yassıtepe and a cemetery discovered on the shores of the former bay.
- The Seventeenth Campaign Onward
After a break of 50 years, excavation at Troia was renewed in 1988 by an international team of Turks, Germans, and Americans coordinated by Manfred Korfmann. Each and every summer further “digging” has taken place; therefore many finds included here represent our most recent discoveries (reported annually in the journal Studia Troica). Most of the evidence from classical antiquity (the Greek and Roman periods) has been brought to light and evaluated by C. Brian Rose from the University of Cincinnati. Up to 2004 nearly 400 scholars and technicians from 20 different countries participated (supported by some 50-100 local staff as well). We are faced, therefore, with an immense quantity of finds to evaluate and publish. The number of scholarly publications produced by our participants (as of 2004) has been most impressive, totaling around 180 articles representing ca. 6000 pages of text.
After the death of Manfred Korfmannin 2005, Tübingen University continues the excavations with the same team under the direction of Ernst Pernicka and Peter Jablonka from Tübingen University.
All finds from these recent campaigns are housed in the Archaeological Museum of Çanakkale.
- New Excavation Season
After the University of Tübingen, the University of Tübingen in 2012, the excavations, since 2013 Professor. Dr. For the first time under the leadership of Rustem Aslan, a Turkish team continues the Troia Excavations.
After the German Tübingen University abandoned the Troia Excavations in 2012, the Troia Excavations were continued by a Turkish team for the first time since 2013 under the direction of Prof. Dr. Rüstem Aslan.
HEINRICH SCHLIEMANN, Trojanische Alterthümer. Bericht über die Ausgrabungen in Troja (Leipzig 1874) und Atlas trojanischer Alterthümer. Photographische Abbildungen zu dem Bericht über die Ausgrabungen in Troja (Leipzig 1874)
HEINRICH SCHLIEMANN, Bericht über die Ausgrabungen in Troja in den Jahren 1871 bis 1873. Mit einem Vorwort von Manfred Korfmann sowie 70 Abbildungen und 48 textbezogenen Tafeln aus dem "Atlas trojanischer Alterthümer" (München - Zürich 1990)
HEINRICH SCHLIEMANN, Ilios. Stadt und Land der Trojaner. Forschungen und Entdeckungen in der Troas und besonders auf der Baustelle von Troja (Leipzig 1881)
HEINRICH SCHLIEMANN, Troja. Ergebnisse meiner neuesten Ausgrabungen auf der Baustelle von Troja, in den Heldengräbern, Bunarbaschi und andern Orten der Troas im Jahre 1882 (Leipzig 1884; Nachdruck hg. v. Rainer Gerlach, Dortmund 1984/1987)
HEINRICH SCHLIEMANN, Bericht über die Ausgrabungen in Troja im Jahre 1890 (Leipzig 1891)
WILHELM DÖRPFELD, Troja 1893, Bericht über die im Jahre 1893 in Troia veranstalteten Ausgrabungen (Leipzig 1894)
WILHELM DÖRPFELD, Die Ausgrabungen in Troja 1894, Athener Mitteilungen 19: 380 - 394
WILHELM DÖRPFELD, Troja und Ilion. Ergebnisse der Ausgrabungen in den vorhistorischen und historischen Schichten von Ilion 1870-1894 (Athen 1902; Nachdruck Osnabrück 1968)
CARL W. BLEGEN - JOHN L. CASKEY - MARION RAWSON - JEROME SPERLING, Troy I. General Introduction. The First and Second Settlements (Princeton 1950)
CARL W. BLEGEN - JOHN L. CASKEY - MARION RAWSON, Troy II. The Third, Fourth, and Fifth Settlements (Princeton 1951)
CARL W. BLEGEN - JOHN L. CASKEY - MARION RAWSON, Troy III. The Sixth Settlement (Princeton 1953)
CARL W. BLEGEN - CEDRIC G. BOULTER - JOHN L. CASKEY - MARION RAWSON, Troy IV. Settlements VIIa, VIIb and VIII (Princeton 1958)
CARL W. BLEGEN, Troy and the Trojans (London 1963)
J. LAWRENCE ANGEL, Troy. The Human Remains, Troy-Supplement 1 (Princeton 1951)
ALFRED R. BELLINGER, Troy. The Coins, (Troy-Supplement 2 (Princeton 1961)
DOROTHY BURR THOMPSON, Troy. The Terracotta Figurines of the Hellenistic Period, Troy-Supplement 3 (Princeton 1963)
GEORGE RAPP JR. JOHN A. GIFFORD, Troy. The Archaeological Geology, Troy-Supplement 4 (Princeton 1982)
FRIEDRICH W. GOETHERT - HANS SCHLEIF, Der Athenatempel von Ilion (Berlin 1962)
KAZI SONUÇLARI TOPLANTISI (Süreli Yayın, Ankara)
STUDIA TROICA (wiss. Jahrbuch des Troia Projesi'nin bilimsel yıllığı, Almanca ve İngilizce, Mainz)
STUDIA TROICA MONOGRAPHIEN (Son yayın, Almanca ve İngilizce, Mainz)
JOHN M. COOK, The Troad. An Archaeological and Topographical Study (Oxford UP, Oxford 1973)
JOHN V. LUCE, Die Landschaften Homers (Klett Cotta, Stuttgart 2000)
JOACHIM LATACZ, Troia und Homer (Piper TB, München 2003)
MICHAEL SIEBLER, Troia. Geschichte, Grabung, Kontroversen (Zabern, Mainz 1994)
MICHAEL SIEBLER, Troia. Mythos und Wirklichkeit (Reclam, Ditzingen 2001)
WLADIMIR P. TOLSTIKOV - MICHAIL J. TREISTER, Der Schatz aus Troja. Schliemann und der Mythos des Priamos-Goldes. Katalogbuch Ausstellung in Moskau 1996/97 (Belser, Stuttgart - Zürich 1996)
MICHAEL WOOD, Der Krieg um Troja (Umschau, Frankfurt/Main 1985)
PETER CONNOLLY, Die Welt des Odysseus (Tesloff, Nürnberg 1986)
WALTER JENS, Ilias und Odyssee (Ravensburger, Ravensburg 192002)
THOMAS FACKLER, "Troia - das Spiel". Ein archäologisches Spiel für 2-4 Spieler ab 9 Jahren (Prestel, München 2002) Troia - das Spiel hat im Jahr 2001 den Kritiker-Sonderpreis Geschichte im Spiel erhalten.
CHRISTOPH HAUßNER - MATTHIAS RAIDT, "Rüya und der Traum von Troia", ein illustrierter Jugendroman (11 - 16 Jahre) und Sachbuch von zwei sachkundigen Grabungsmitarbeitern mit einem Vorwort von Manfred Korfmann (Roseni, Hamm 2001)
RÜSTEM ASLAN - CHRISTOPH HAUßNER, Troia. Eski Duvarların Arasında Yeni İzler. (BAG, Remshalden-Grunbach 2004).
The logo of the Troia Project is the bronze seal, which is one of the most important discoveries.
The seal was found in 1995 in a Troia VII layer. It has a radius of 2.3cm. On one side the name of a clerk is written in Luwian hieroglyphic, whereas on the other side name of his wife could be read.
This find is the oldest written document in Troia and points to the relationship between Troia and Hittites.