Greeks sailed into ancient Trojan bay

From Boston, at the annual meeting of the Geological Society of America.

Around 1250 B.C., a Greek force beached its warships on the shores of Asia Minor and laid siege to the city of Troy. On nearby land, geologists have discerned the outline of a former bay that has filled with silt since the conflict. Aided by classical literature, they’ve now charted where the attackers came ashore.

An alluvial plain covers what was a quiet, marshy cove during the stormy struggle recounted in Homer’s Iliad, says John C. Kraft of the University of Delaware in Newark. Sediment analyses indicate that a spit of land skirted the marsh to the west, opposite Troy, enclosing a sheltered, U-shape bay.

Kraft’s collaborator, John V. Luce, a classicist at Trinity College in Dublin, carefully retranslated first-century writings by the geographer Strabo that describe the landing site’s position relative to Troy. Kraft then determined where the Greeks hauled out onto the lagoon’s protected western margin, about 3 miles from the city, and dug in for an extended siege.

More Stories from Science News on Earth