Geology

Drilling on the Trojan Plain

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Science  07 Feb 2003:
Vol. 299, Issue 5608, pp. 783
DOI: 10.1126/science.299.5608.783b

The location of Troy and the accuracy of Homer's descriptions of the Trojan War in The Iliad have been examined and questioned for ages. In the late 1800s, Schliemann laid claim to having unearthed the ancient city on the west coast of Turkey, near the mouths of the Dardenelles and the Simois and Scamander rivers. Nonetheless, many descriptions in The Iliad do not correspond to the landscape of the region as seen today, more than 5000 years after the battle. Tectonic activity and sedimentation in the delta plain, and the construction of levees and canals along the rivers have greatly modified the geography, and the coastline is several kilometers from the ancient city. Kraft et al. have used a series of dated drill cores in the region to reconstruct the changes in this landscape from about 7000 years ago to the present, covering the time of the Trojan War. This paleogeography correlates well with the descriptions in The Iliad of several battles around Troy. — BH

Geology31, 163 (2003).

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