Around 1870, Heinrich Schliemann headed an archaeological dig in Turkey. His site was located south of the southwest end of the Hellespont and northwest of Mount Ida. In 1865, an  English archaeologist named Frank Calvert had excavated trial trenches in a field he had bought from a local farmer. The results were promising, and Schliemann took over Calvert's dig--which had since been named 'Hisarlik'--and took sole credit for the future finds at the site, even though Calvert had done the work of locating the site in the first place. In this documentary (which is rather old, but a great watch) tells the story of the dig for Troy and of Schliemann himself, and intercuts it with archived videos about the dig.

At Hisarlik, Schliemann found evidence of nine cities built on top of each other, as well as evidence of a high wall which must have fortified the town. Schliemann figured that the city of Troy--or Ilion/Ilios (Ἴλιον/Ἴλιος) as it would have been called at the time of the ancient Hellenes--must have been one of the lower, older, cities and thus he blasted his way down to the second city, where he found signs that seemed to corroborate his story--jewellery included, that Schliemann took to be those of Helen--which turned out to be a thousand years older than the time described in the epic. Due to his methodology, much of the later cities were destroyed.

Archaeologists today believe that the sixth and seventh oldest cities found in layers at Hisarlik are the best candidates for the Troy of The Iliad. Evidence suggests that city number six would have fit the setting of Troy described by Hómēros... but evidence points to its destruction not by the hands of man, but the hands of nature: Troy six was destroyed by a massive earthquake. Troy seven, however, was not as grand as Troy six, but its streets were littered with arrowheads, indicating that this city was, indeed, sacked by human hands. Hómēros, it seems, combined the two (destruction) stories into his great epic.

I will always be grateful to Schliemann for finding the location of Troy, but I don't agree much with his methodology. He was a man of his time, however, and we cannot really blame him for that... and in the end, we walked away with a lot more knowledge about Troy than we ever had--and perhaps ever would have had--without him. Or maybe it would have been Calvert's name in the hitory books; we will never know.