Winner of the 2012 Orange Prize for Fiction

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A Trip to Troy

Ever since I first heard the stories of the Trojan War, I have yearned to see Troy for myself, and this past spring I was finally able to do so.  Friends and relatives warned me over and over: Don’t get your hopes up.  It’s just a lot of rocks.  You can’t really see anything.

I didn’t care. Even if all that was left was a hill, I would be thrilled to stand on it, looking out over the landscape that Hector himself might have seen.   My imagination could do the rest.

Luckily, there turned out to be quite a bit more than a hill, and I took copious photos of all of it.  What follows is a sampling of that, which I offer with an important caveat: I am merely an enthusiast, not a trained archaeologist.  If you are interested in hearing what an expert has to say about the site, I would recommend this article (http://www.archaeology.org/0405/etc/troy.html) by the famed archaeologist Manfred Korfmann, who helped put the excavation of Troy on the map.

On a side note, Turkey is amazing.  Everywhere you go, there is something incredible, from the very ancient to the very modern.   I would absolutely recommend it!

Some Background

Troy is situated near the modern city of Canakkale in Turkey, just below the opening of the Dardanelles. In ancient times, it was flanked by two rivers, the Scamander and Simois, and was quite close to the sea.  Over time, the rivers have silted up, filling in the bay and pushing the sea back.

Because Troy was inhabited continuously for almost three thousand years, the current archaeological site is really several different cities layered on top of one another.  Scholars have identified layers VI and VIIa as belonging to the time period that Homer describes in the Iliad, and have even found evidence that the city was destroyed around that time.  For a more complete discussion of the Iliad’s historical basis, I again recommend Project Troia’s FAQ. (http://www.uni-tuebingen.de/troia/eng/faq.html).