Tour of Troy I

A scrollable text of the movie narration:

Almost five thousand years ago, people first built a small fortified settlement on this spot. We do not know what they called their town, but in history and legend, it has been given the name of "Troy." Looking around at the land and water, we can see some reasons why people would want to live here. This rise, where the people chose to build, gives a good view seaward: this was a key spot to control shipping through the Dardanelles, and a good harbor for ships bound all over the Aegean Sea and beyond. Besides, the settlement had easy access to food, fish from the sea and farm or pasture land below, watered by the Simois and Scamander rivers which go to sea here. We can see in the distance the forested hills that provided wood for fuel and building. The most noticeable thing about this settlement, though, is the imposing wall the people built around it.

Only a few gates allow access through the wall. Citizens keeping watch from tower-like structures on either side of the gate passage can welcome friends, but if you are an enemy: watch out! The Trojans built the wall and towers out of well-laid stone. Notice how the walls slope back and up, what we call "battered construction." The very top part is made of mud brick.

At the south gate you can see that the wall has just been built and the final coat of mud plaster has been applied to the western tower. The plaster would make it harder to climb up the wall. The red color, which archaeologists found, might have made the wall look more ferocious! Why did the Trojans build such a wall? We do not know for sure; but at the same time, similar groups, part of an emerging Aegean maritime culture, were building similar fortified towns. One of them, Poliochne, lies on the island of Lemnos - visible from Troy on a clear day. Perhaps these settlements mistrusted each other, or worried about raids from other enemies.

Inside the wall the houses are made of mud bricks with flat roofs, and clustered close together. You can see that there is no regular street pattern. The basic rectangular house form is called a megaron, and as a type, it will persist at Troy through many rebuildings.

Glossary terms

battered construction
maritime culture