Tour of Troy VI

A scrollable text of the movie narration:

Troy VI is a large settlement, for the Bronze Age. From a distance, we can see that the upper city is protected by great stone walls, but as we approach the lower city, spread on its broad plateau, we can see that it is protected, too. In this age of the horse and war chariot, very special defensive works are being used. Simple ditches cut in the soft bedrock form a dangerous obstacle for a charging warrior on wheels. The ditch is just wider than any horse can jump.

The only places where you can cross the ditch with a cart or on horseback would leave you in a very vulnerable position. These areas are carefully guarded with gates and watch towers. Only friends can enter here!

Inside the gates, we find homes and workshops where people are busy producing all kinds of things. Smiths work in metal, potters work in clay. Some houses have a paved area in the yard or court, where the wheat is threshed. The roofs are flat and could also be used for drying fruit, beans and nuts. Wooden ladders gave access to the roof.

All over the city, as in all periods of Troy, there is spinning and weaving going on. Evidence suggests that the Trojans are also manufacturing purple dye from a kind of seashell called a “murex.” It is a very smelly operation! But it is worth putting up with the smell, because from the dye a very popular and valuable purple cloth is being made. “Trojan purple” also tints luxury items made of leather, bone and ivory.

The seashells for dyemaking suggest how important the sea still is to the city – even though the delta of Troy’s two rivers has built up over the centuries. The sea allows great trade possibilities -- the metal ores for the smithy, the ivory, and other luxury items come from far away

Troy has become quite rich from all this production and commerce: the administrative and religious center of the city is surrounded by an immense, imposing fortification wall. The wall has a handful of gates, with flanking towers and bastions at the northeast and south. Most of the wall is made of stone; only a short part at the top is mudbrick. Masons built the wall in straight, sloping sections. When they needed to change direction, to follow the contours of the upper city, they would add a little “sawtooth” corner, like this.

This street leads up to what was most likely the main palace-megaron, possibly a combination of temple, palace, treasury and archive. We may never really know, because the Hellenistic Greeks who later built a huge Temple of Athena at the city’s highest point leveled off the entire top of the Troy VI citadel, the upper city.

Luckily, the palace-megaron buildings just inside the citadel wall have survived. They are large, impressive buildings with more than one story. These were built in the megaron form which seems to have survived from the earliest times at Troy, but there are some new types of houses, with a freer room layout and internal column arrangement. Notice how the lower story is made from a sawtooth masonry quite similar to the fortification walls! These new types of buildings may indicate that either some new arrivals have moved into Troy, or that Troy has new ties to another culture, probably to the east in what is now the Anatolian plateau of Turkey.

The large houses are all a respectful distance from the defenders’ side of the fortification wall. Archaeologists found more evidence of the purple dye making along the wall here- where the wind is est-- maybe the smell blew away!

Let’s go inside one of these houses. It has lots of posts holding up a second floor balcony, and access to the roof. What a view! If anyone tries to attack we shall see them coming.

Glossary words:

Bronze Age
war chariot