Geomorphic Reconstructions in the Environs of Ancient Troy

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Science  15 Aug 1980:
Vol. 209, Issue 4458, pp. 776-782
DOI: 10.1126/science.209.4458.776


Sea level rise, deltaic progradation, and floodplain aggradation have changed the landscape in the vicinity of ancient Troy during the past 10,000 years. With the waning of the last major world glaciation and resultant sea level rise and fluctuation, a marine embayment protruded nearly 10 kilometers south of the site of Troy at Hisarlik in the Troad of northwest Turkey. As the sea approached its present level approximately 6000 years ago, fluvial and marine deposition caused a northerly migration of the delta and floodplain of the Scamander and Simois Rivers past the site of Troy toward the present-day coast about 6 kilometers north of the site. In view of these major changes in morphology, interpretations of ancient geographies related to historical or historical-mythological settings must be changed. A number of paleogeographic maps have been reconstructed with the use of subsurface data that records the continuing landscape change since the first occupancy of the site at Troy 5000 years ago. These show that ancient Troy was located on an embayment of the sea. If the Trojan War occurred, then the axis of the battlefield and associated events must be relocated to the south and west of Troy.