Schliemann’s destruction still in Troy after 150 years
The destruction caused by Heinrich Schliemann, who made excavations 150 years ago in the ancient city of Troy, which is located within the borders of the Tevfikiye village of the northwestern province of Çanakkale and has a history of 5,500 years, is still trying to be eradicated.
Excavations in the ancient city of Troy, which is an open-air museum on the UNESCO World Heritage list, sheds light on history. The region, where official excavations began 150 years ago, has offered many archaeological discoveries.
The ancient city, one of the favorite addresses of cultural tourism, contributes to the cultural heritage with the artifacts found there.
The head of the excavations, Prof. Rüstem Aslan said that Troy was first excavated by Frank Calvert in 1863, and official excavations were carried out first by Heinrich Schliemann, then by Dörpfeld and Blegen in 1871, reminding that the ancient city was considered one of the most important areas of archaeological studies in the world.
Stating that the excavations in the city continued throughout the year, Aslan said, “We work for 12 months, but we started active excavation in June. Troy has been excavated for 150 years. During this process, there have been many discussions, many discoveries, and very important events in the archaeological sense. During the official excavations of Schliemann, which started in 1871, both the destruction of the site and the stealing of the finds from the site are two major cases. Dörpfeld and Blegen also excavated here, especially from the 1930s, until 1988. Then there are the works of Manfred Osman Korfmann, who was the head of the excavations, starting in 1988 until his death in 2005. At the moment, we are mostly working to eliminate the damage made in the Schliemann period. We are also excavating the areas that he has destructed but are important to understand some of the archaeological problems.”
Stating that the area called “Troy 2 City Entrance,” where they have been working for the last few years, is a study area of the Schliemann period excavations, Aslan said, “In 1872, Schliemann excavated the mound here from top to bottom, cutting and destroying it, and also stole the finds here. After 150 years, we are trying to repair the destructions, especially in the area defined as the Troy 2 castle, perhaps the richest city of the Troy period. We carry out preliminary restoration and conservation studies. We can clearly say that even after 150 years, it is possible to see the damage done by Schliemann.”
Stating that Schliemann both removed the ruins and destroyed the area, Aslan said, “I can also say that in every excavation period, there is a problem that Schliemann caused. In the 19th century, it was revealed that the place known as Hisarlık at that time was the ancient city of Troy. But the destruction already happened. He realized his mistake in later years. There are actually many milestones in Troy. The ruin site was included in the world cultural heritage list in 1998, and after that, the Troy Museum opened in 2018. And, so, we can say that now the Troy Museum is the most suitable place for the artifacts from these lands to return.”