Who discovered Troy?

The city we call Troy, founded about 2920 BCE, was destroyed at least nine times and was home to various groups over its rocky history. The Greeks could be called the first “discoverers” of Troy because they founded the town of Ilion on the site after 300 years of abandonment, sometime around 700 BCE. They thought their Ilion was on the location of the legendary Trojan War.

The city was abandoned about 1500 AD and forgotten. In 1868, German-American adventurer Heinrich Schliemann arrived at Troy’s location. He had heard the claim of Frank Calvert, an English man who was living there, that the hill called Hisarlik was likely to be hiding the ruins of Troy. After walking the site and reading the Iliad

on a rooftop for two hours, Schliemann wrote, “I was fully convinced that it was here that ancient Troy had stood.” A wealthy man, Schliemann could pay for a big archaeological dig. However, the science of archaeology was very new, and Schliemann made mistakes. For example, he told the world about a set of beautiful artifacts that he labeled “The Treasure of Priam.”

He even had his wife dress up wearing some of the lovely gold jewelry. Schliemann was sure that the treasure was from the Troy of the Trojan War.

After his death, Schliemann’s assistant Wilhelm Doerpfeld proved the treasure was part of Troy II, much earlier than the Trojan War could have been. Doerpfeld worked at Troy for many years, and it was he who identified the nine basic layers of the city, and labeled them with the system in Roman numerals that is still used today. Doerpfeld favored Troy VI as the fabled Troy. In 1932, he agreed to

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