Tour of Troy II

A scrollable text of the movie narration:

Troy II from the air looks like a village, not a real city where important things happen. But for the early Bronze Age, it shows signs of power and a well-organized population busy with building, specialized trades, commerce, religion and maybe even warfare.

The lower city is protected from unwelcome intruders by means of a well-built wooden palisade. Wood is plentiful, whereas good building stone is not, and so this type of wall makes sense. You enter the city through a few gates like this, wherever an important road meets the wall.s

Once inside, we see how a typical Troy II house is built: there is a rubble stone foundation and walls of mud-brick, very similar to what we call adobe! The roofs, as in adobe buildings, are flat and use parallel wooden beams supporting a layer of reeds and then mud.

Inside these small houses, and sometimes outside, people both live and work. They make all the wool and linen cloth they need — the extra can be exported. They use the potter's wheel to make all kinds of vessels; some have been found at places far away.

At the highest point of the city (which lies on top of the remains of Troy I, the earliest settlement) we come to an important complex of buildings surrounded by a really substantial fortification wall. This is our first hint that whatever is housed in these buildings must be very important to the well-being of the city.

Is the palace in there? Or the treasury? Or are these places of worship? Or maybe a combination of all three?

There are a couple of ways to get through the stone walls into this upper city. Due south is a large imposing gateway building. You might be able to get through the first door, but if your intentions are not friendly, the second door might be barred.

Over on the western side of the fortified area there is an impressive stone ramp which leads up to another gateway building. If you tried to mount an attack here, gravity would be working against you! And even if you came in peace, you might feel very, very small and unimportant as you climbed up to this gate. The leaders of Troy II, whoever they are, have already figured out how to use architecture to control people's impressions.

We'll go through the large south gate. Here you see that even the upper city contains an inner sanctum. This wall may be more symbolic, but nevertheless, we are funneled through one more gate, and then are directly confronted with the great Megaron.

A Megaron is a large rectangular building usually entered on its shorter, south-facing end where there is a deep porch. The walls of wood and mud-brick are massive, built to take the weight of the roof because there are hardly any interior supports. In the inner chamber there is a large circular hearth. The smoke is let out through a hole in the roof. Inside these upper city megarons, archaeologists have found some objects of great value but little use, such as ornamental axe heads carved from single pieces of lapis lazuli, a semi-precious stone from far away in the east. Such objects seem to show that religious activities took place here.

The great Megaron is one of a set of parallel megarons built here, all lined up in the same direction. This careful placement also suggests a ritualistic purpose. Besides the religious objects, the upper city is a repository for all kinds of treasure. When the city finally burned in a big fire, there wasn't enough time to remove all the valuables - which made the archaeologists who came by over forty centuries later very excited.

Glossary terms

fortification wall
lapis lazuli