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German exhibit provides new glimpse of ancient Troy

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    x0x German exhibit provides new glimpse of ancient Troy * Troy: Myth and Reality draws on work by the German archaeologist Manfred Korfmann and historians
    Message 1 of 1 , Apr 14, 2001
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      x0x German exhibit provides new glimpse of ancient Troy

      * "Troy: Myth and Reality" draws on work by the German archaeologist
      Manfred Korfmann and historians of Asia Minor. It presents a Troy
      that is not merely a fortified city grounded in Greek
      civilization, but a flourishing trade center that was integral to
      the earlier Hittite culture in ancient Turkey
      * The exhibition presents 850 objects, including ceramic vases,
      amphorae, bowls and cups, which point to a highly developed
      domestic culture. Most have never before been seen outside Turkish
      museums


      Katharine A. Schmidt

      Stuttgart - The Associated Press

      An exhibit featuring new archaeological artifacts from ancient Troy
      and treasures from Turkish museums assembles new evidence that the
      city flourished a thousand years earlier than previously believed.

      "Troy: Myth and Reality" draws on work by the German archaeologist
      Manfred Korfmann and historians of Asia Minor. It presents a Troy that
      is not merely a fortified city grounded in Greek civilization, but a
      flourishing trade center that was integral to the earlier Hittite
      culture in ancient Turkey. The Hittites were a patriarchal, highly
      agricultural people who ruled over much of the eastern and central
      parts of the Anatolian Peninsula during the second millennium BC.

      The show, which runs through June 17 at Stuttgart's Landesbank Forum,
      also examines Troy as a theme in European culture as exemplified by
      busts of Homer, Roman coins from the time of Julius Caesar and
      paintings like Pieter Schoubroeck's "Burning of Troy."

      Writers and artists throughout history have been fascinated with Troy
      and the legends around it, such as Achilles being killed by an arrow
      to his heel, the only spot on his body not protected by immersion in a
      magic potion. The city was most famously the subject of the Homer's
      epic poem, "Iliad."

      Visitors follow the story of Troy's destruction by the Greeks on Greek
      vases, in medieval paintings and a 13th-century Ottoman manuscript.
      Its influence is traced right up to a cartoon depicting Trojan horses
      at the Berlin Wall.

      "To my knowledge, there has never been such an appreciation of Troy,"
      said Korfmann, an archaeology professor at Tuebingen University.

      A five-story Trojan horse greets visitors outside the exhibition,
      recalling the episode in the "Iliad" where Greek soldiers emerge to
      sack Troy from the belly of a giant horse that was thought to be a
      gift. The modern version has space for 30 people inside.

      Inside, the exhibition presents 850 objects, including ceramic vases,
      amphorae, bowls and cups, which point to a highly developed domestic
      culture. Most have never before been seen outside Turkish museums.

      About 300 objects never displayed before were excavated by teams
      working under Korfmann since 1988.

      Korfmann drew upon the work of 19th-century German archaeologist
      Heinrich Schliemann, who began his 12-year excavations in 1870, and,
      after copiously surveying the land, first declared a hilltop in
      western Turkey to be the site of the ancient Troy. It lies near the
      entrance to the Dardanelles, the gateway from the Mediterranean Sea to
      Asia.

      In a letter shown in the exhibit, Schliemann tells of finding the
      Treasure of Priam, a Trojan king who had amassed a large collection of
      gold, silver and copper. That find, which included two gold crowns,
      copper plates and nearly 9000 gold pieces, was seized by the Soviet
      government after World War II.

      Many researchers did not believe Schliemann had excavated the Troy of
      myth because the city seemed too small. But Korfmann found indications
      in Schliemann's work that the city was actually larger and used modern
      technology to reveal outlines of ancient buildings and streets under
      the earth.

      Korfmann's teams extended the area of the ancient fortress settlement
      15-fold to a flourishing trade center covering 30 hectares, with 5,000
      to 10,000 inhabitants.

      That city, which flourished from 1700 to 1200 B.C., would have been
      the Troy described in the "Iliad," which was written about 700 B.C.
      Troy was destroyed in an earthquake 1200, rebuilt and then within a
      few hundred years again destroyed in a war.

      In the exhibition catalog, Korfmann says his excavations reveal key
      features that correspond with Homer's description of Troy - walls,
      towers and temple sites.

      Language experts report that their examination of Hittite texts shows
      that two different names given by Greeks and Hittites to the location
      refer to the same city - Troy - and that there were conflicts between
      the Hittite king and ancient Greeks that Homer called Achaeans.

      "We know there were conflicts around 1300 B.C.," said Joachim Latacz,
      an expert in ancient languages who contributed to the catalog. "In
      that regard, what Homer wrote was no fantasy."

      The exhibit will travel to the German cities of Braunschweig and Bonn.
      Korfmann said he hopes much of it will once be displayed at a museum
      planned for the site in Turkey.

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