Tour of Troy IX

A scrollable text of the movie narration:

A great catastrophe struck here thirty-three hundred years ago, when Troy VI was at its peak. Some evidence suggests an earthquake, followed by a fire. Rebuilding followed, in the period archaeologists call Troy VIIA. But a little more than a hundred years after the earthquake and fire, a second catastrophe - this one maybe of human origin - destroyed the city again. Scholars are still sifting through this sequence of events, searching for evidence of the legendary Trojan War.

Here in the lower city, the small houses of wood and mudbrick are not too difficult to rebuild, sometimes on new foundations, but often on top of the old walls. In this simple house, the porch area is used for preparing food gathered from the garden. A heavy cloth curtain serves as a doorway. Perhaps because the people are nervous about various kinds of threats, great care is taken to save foodstuff under the floor of the house, in large pottery storage jars with stone lids.

Let's go up to the citadel, the fortified upper city, where more substantial changes have taken place. The Trojans have added a new tower to the massive Troy VI wall, here on the east side. And they have also used the rebuilding to modernize the way that they fortify the upper part of the wall. It is made out of mudbrick, and takes the form of merlons, the up-and-down profile that you see here. It seems that the Troy VII residents are worried about something: another earthquake? Or an attack?

No earthquake in the last 33 hundred years has been able to topple the stone part of the Troy VI wall! Its builders were very crafty, and built it directly on the bedrock.

The south gate is guarded by some strange standing stones, called “baetyls.” No doubt they are religious icons, and tell all who approach the gate and tower that the Trojans are protected by some powerful gods.

Things are quite different inside the gate. All the big palace–like houses which used to sit at a distance from the fortification wall have disappeared! Maybe they collapsed in the earthquake. They were fairly massive freestanding structures with four sides, sitting on all the loose fill from Troy II to V. Scientists and engineers know that those can all be problems during certain earthquakes.

Whatever the reason, the large houses are gone. In their place there are smaller houses butting right up against the fortification wall. These houses have many food storage jars set into their floors. People may have been nervous, hoarding supplies against siege or earthquake, but life went on: they were still carrying out the normal weaving and spinning which never stopped at Troy!

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