Lesson 7: Narrative

Western Anatolia and the Eastern Aegean in the Early Bronze Age

  1. Introduction
  2. Early Troy I
  3. Middle Troy I
  4. Late Troy I
  5. Final Troy I
  6. Limantepe
  7. Thermi on Lesbos
  8. Poliochni on Lemnos
  9. General Comments on Architecture at Troy and Related Sites in the Northeastern Aegean



It was Heinrich Schliemann’s decision to excavate at the mound of Hisarlik in 1870, in an effort to prove that Homer’s epic tale of the siege of Troy was an historical event rather than mere mythology, that launched the subdiscipline of Aegean prehistory. Schliemann’s exposure of a series of superimposed Bronze Age fortresses at the site, in the burnt ruins of one of the earliest of which he claimed to have found a series of “treasures” rich in metal artifacts – that is, hoards of bronze, silver, and gold objects – were ample confirmation to him that Priam’s legendary capital had really existed. In an extensive sequence of excavation campaigns (1870-73, 1878-79, 1882, 1890) that were eventually halted only by Schliemann’s death in Naples in December, 1890, he uncovered not only an enormous amount of the prehistoric remains at Hisarlik but also a good deal of the overlying Greek and Roman city that the historic inhabitants of the place referred to more often as Ilion (or Ilium) than Troié (or Troia). After a brief pause, excavations at the site continued for two additional seasons (1892-93) under Schliemann’s architect and former assistant, Wilhelm Dörpfeld. Then a World War came and went, along with a generation and a half of archaeologists, before excavation at the site was resumed for seven years (1932-38) under the direction of Carl W. Blegen, an American leading a team from the University of Cincinnati that included Jack L. Caskey, the future of excavator of Lerna in the 1950’s and of Ayia Irini (Keos) in the 1960’s. Then along came another World War, followed by the passage of another generation and a half of archaeologists prior to the latest round of excavations at Hisarlik (1990 – present) by a German-American team co-directed by Manfred Korfmann of the University of Tübingen working on the prehistoric levels and Brian Rose of the University of Cincinnati concentrating on the historical Greek and Roman city. As a consequence of having been excavated over so long a period by both German and American expeditions, the site conventionally referred to as Troy both in prehistory and in the historical era (although as of 1998 we actually know the name of only the historic site for sure) is one of the most thoroughly explored and fully published sites in the world, even though due to its size and complexity it may not be anywhere nearly as well understood as smaller and simpler settlements like Myrtos.

An enormous archaeological literature on Troy now exists which now extends back, thanks to Schliemann’s exemplary promptness in publishing his findings, over 120 years. Much of this scholarship has, of course, been constantly being superseded by the latest findings of the most recent group of excavators to work at the site. Up through the Second World War, Dörpfeld’s publications were considered definitive; for the past forty years, the pronouncements of Blegen and his co-workers have held much the same authority. But already the new fieldwork undertaken by Korfmann has shown that the picture of Troy presented by Blegen and his predecessors was fundamentally flawed in a number of important respects. In what follows, the basic elements of the stratigraphic characterizations of the EBA sequence at Troy – the cities numbered from I (at the bottom, on sterile soil) up to V (a settlement which, like the contemporary Phylakopi I culture of the Cyclades, spans the transition from the EBA to the MBA) – are derived from Blegen et al.’s publication of the relevant strata in the first two volumes of his team’s final report (1950, 1951). These thumbnail sketches of Troy’s material culture during the EBA will be supplemented where relevant by the findings to date of Korfmann’s crew, published annually in a periodical founded specifically for this purpose, Studia Troica.

One final note about the EBA remains from Troy: despite their extremely impressive nature and the undeniable fact that they have played an uniquely important role in the development of the discipline of archaeology in the Aegean basin, they need to be put into perspective with far greater care than has been done in most handbooks on Aegean prehistory. The discovery of equally important Early Bronze Age sites at points further south on the western Anatolian coast (e.g. Limantepe and Panaztepe), as well as on the large islands of the eastern Aegean not far offshore (e.g. Poliochni on Lemnos, Thermi on Lesbos, Emporio on Chios), some of which have only quite recently begun to be investigated on any significant scale (especially Limantepe), ought to keep us from awarding to Troy an unchallenged preeminence in the scholarly literature of today which the site has held since its initial excavation but in all probability did not possess during the third millennium B.C. Troy was first occupied ca. 3100/3000 B.C., a century or two after the Bronze Age is conventionally considered to have begun in northwestern Anatolia. By the time of its foundation, Poliochni had been occupied for centuries, Emporio for millennia, and Limantepe is likely to have been equally well established. Troy was, to be sure, an important site from the very start – but it was only one of a whole string of very impressive fortified coastal settlements extending at least as far south as Samos and probably all the way down to Kos.

TROY I (West Anatolian EB 1: ca. 3000/2900-2600/2550 B.C.)

Deposit ca. 4 m. deep. Blegen’s excavations resulted in the identification of ten architectural phases (a-j) divided into Early (a-c), Middle (d-f), and Late (g-j). To these, Korfmann has now added at least five or six more, which he suggests ought to be referred to as Final Troy I (l-p/q), phase Ik being the latest phase of Late Troy I.

Early Troy I

Architecture: Traces of a battered fortification wall ca. 2.50 m. thick found by Schliemann and Dörpfeld indicate that the site was of the “fortress” type from the very beginning. Relatively large, free-standing houses are built of mudbrick on a stone socle. From phase Ia there is an apsidal house (103), and from phase Ib an overlying rectangular “megaron” (102) of impressive size (7.0 x 18.75 m.). Korfmann’s cleaning operations at the bottom of Schliemann’s “Great Trench” have revealed an extensive series of parallel buildings which include the two megara published by Blegen and that take their orientation from the line of the fortification wall at the southern limit of this trench.

Metal: Present from the beginning, this exists in the form of needles, pins, awls, and a hook of copper.

Stone: Marble or limestone is used for schematic human figurines, related to but significantly different from those of the EC cultures in the central Aegean; there are, for example, no figurines that can be accurately described as of a “folded-arm” type, nor are there any figures carved in sufficient detail to be identified as representing specific “occupations” (e.g. musicians, warriors, etc.). Different varieties of stone are employed for celts, hammers, axes, and numerous querns and grinders. The chipped stone is of flint.

Bone: Used primarily to make pins and awls, bone was also utilized for ornaments of various sorts.

Terracotta: This material is used for, aside from pots, such items as weaving accessories (spindle whorls and loomweights) and one human figurine.

Pottery: Most of the pottery is dark monochrome burnished ware. Sparse decoration normally consists of rectilinear incisions filled with white paste but there is also occasional plastic decoration. Common shapes are conical or slightly flaring bowls with thickened interior rims, carinated bowls, jugs with cutaway necks, and basins on three legs. The bowls often have tubular lugs at or just below the rim. Some of the incised decoration takes the form of highly stylized human facial features. The prevalence of incised decoration in simple rectilinear patterns on the thickened interior lips of bowls invites comparison with the similar decoration of late EH I “fruitstands” of the Talioti phase in the Peloponnese.

Burials: No adult burials were found in the University of Cincinnati’s excavations in the 1930’s but six infant burials were discovered under the floor, as well as just north, of House 102. Two of these graves were simple pit burials, while in four the infants were interred within pithoi or large jars.

Middle Troy I

Architecture: A fortification wall (IW) still stands 3 m. high in the southern part of the settlement. The principal gateway through it was flanked on both sides by projecting towers. A second gateway, similar in plan, probably pierced the wall on the east side. Houses continue to be large and free-standing but no complete plans were recovered.

Metal: New are lead fragments used to mend broken vases and a terracotta mould for a metal dagger or spearhead indicating local production of metal implements.

Stone: Fragments of two stone vases were found. More impressive is the fragment of a large stone stela bearing shallow relief decoration in the form of a human head and upper body, the earliest sculpture on this scale in Anatolia or the Aegean.

Pottery: Changes are minimal. Pattern-painted light-on-dark decoration appears as an alternative to incisions filled with white paste, but it is rare. The first Aegean ceramic imports appear, including fragments of EH/EC II Urfirnis which show that the middle of Troy I overlaps in date with the Korakou culture on the Greek Mainland and the Keros-Syros culture in the central Aegean islands.

Late Troy I

Architecture: The fortifications are extended in places as much as 5 m. outward. The sections of wall new in this phase consist of an earthen rampart, stronglybattered and faced with a single layer of stones in contrast with the solid stone construction of the earlier wall IW. House types continue unchanged. There is evidence for a destruction by fire of Troy Ij.

Stone: Melian obsidian appears for the first time, but only in small quantities.

Pottery: No major changes distinguish the pottery from that of Middle I, but a black surface color becomes more common and more regular (i.e. there is less mottling of vessel surfaces, implying improved control over the firing process). Aegean imports continue and now include certain sauceboat fragments.

Final Troy I

Architecture: Identified only quite recently by Korfmann in the levels underneath the great megara IIA and IIB at the core of the Trojan EBA fortress, these five or six building phases have yet to be defined in any detail ceramically. In the last phase (Ip or Iq), the first buff wheelmade plates and shallow bowls, previously considered typical of the earliest stage of Troy II, appear.

Relative Chronology of Troy I as a Whole: Early I is contemporary with the later Eutresis culture of EH I and the advanced Grotta-Pelos culture represented by the so-called Kampos group of EC I. Middle and Late I are contemporary with early phases of the Korakou (EH IIA) and Keros-Syros (EC IIA) cultures on the basis of imported Urfirnis and sauceboat fragments in these levels at Troy.

TROY II (West Anatolian EB 2: ca. 2600/2550-2250 B.C.)

Deposit usually ca. 2 m. thick, much less than for Troy I, possibly because the debris of the various phases was often cleared away entirely when a new architectural level was laid out but perhaps also due to the fact that Troy II is somewhat shorter-lived than Troy I. Eight architectural phases (a-g). There is no cultural break between Troy I and II nor any within Troy II.

Architecture: The fortifications are greatly extended in phase IIa and are provided in parts with projecting rectangular towers. The walls are pierced by two large gateways (FL, FN), each flanked on both sides by massive towers. At the end of phase IIa, the citadel was destroyed by fire. In phase IIb, the walls are rebuilt on roughly the same plan. In phase IIc, the fortifications are again extended outward. At this time, two impressive gateways (FM, FO) with a more open double-gated plan are constructed, and FM at the southwest is approached by a magnificent stone-paved ramp. These phase IIc fortifications remain in use with little in the way of modification except at the gates until the end of Troy II. As far as houses are concerned, there are only traces of them from phase IIa but these are large. In phase IIb there is evidence for a megaron-like building under Megaron IIA. In phase IIc, the citadel is dominated by a series of huge parallel megara constructed within an interior walled compound. The largest of these is Megaron IIA, approached through a propylon (IIC) leading through the wall of the inner compound, which itself has a colonnaded portico on the inside. At least four other megara (IIB, IIE, IIH, IIR) are ranged along both sides of IIA. A fifth megaron (IIF) lies outside the inner compound to the south, as does a multi-roomed structure (IID) to the southwest. Distinctive in the architecture of Troy IIc are the shaped stone bases attached to the thickened ends of the lateral walls of the major buildings [the so-called {anta}e; this term most frequently describes the ends of the long walls of a megaron, especially at the front in the building’s porch]. In both gateways and megara, these cut stone bases supported wooden sheathing (“parastades”) around the mudbricks at the walls’ ends, causing the wall thickenings termed antae. The walls of Megaron IIA were made of mudbrick set within a half-timbered framework (horizontal, transverse, and probably also vertical beams) on top of a massive stone socle 1.5 meters wide. The main room of this enormous megaron (45 m. long by 13 m. wide) had a large (diam. 4 m.) circular hearth on its axis, but there was no evidence found for the throne located in much later Mycenaean palaces with comparable plans against the middle of the right-hand wall as one enters. In Troy IId, the colonnaded court around the megara was extended outward ca. 3 m., but otherwise the architectural design of the fortress remained much the same until the end of Troy II except that the number of monumental megara declined in favor of more obviously residential dwellings taking the form of blocks or “insulae”. Period IId is characterized by extensive rubbish pits (“bothroi”), perhaps designed originally as emplacements for large pithoi. Troy IIg, within which only one monumental megaron survives (IIA from Troy IIc), was totally destroyed in a massive fire.

Metal: Large amounts of gold and silver, as well as tools and vessels of copper and bronze, were found by Schliemann and Blegen in the burnt destruction horizon of Troy IIg. The prosperity of Troy II suggested by the architecture is confirmed by these finds which, aside from pure wealth, also attest to the wide extent of Troy II’s contacts with other areas both within the Aegean and beyond. Gold jewelry is particularly striking and can be compared with that from destruction deposits at Poliochni (Yellow Phase) on Lemnos and with pieces from tombs at Mochlos (Crete) and Alaca Hüyük (inland Turkey). Good Aegean parallels also exist for such items as silver tweezers (at Manika on Euboea) and for the idea of a multiple sauceboat (in the Cyclades), although the Cycladic parallels for the latter are purely ceramic and pale by comparison with the famous two-handled example in gold from Troy of a hybrid sauceboat plus “Kastri group” two-handled cup. At least one half of the copper-based artifacts from Troy II are already high-tin bronzes. The only other site in the Aegean area to have produced so much tin-bronze at this early date is Kastri on Syros which in both its metalwork and its pottery reveals clear Trojan influence and may in fact have been settled by refugees from the final disaster which destroyed Troy II.

Stone: Aside from figurines of types found already in Troy I, a number of stone implements reveal Aegean contacts: a steatite blossom bowl (Minoan), a spool-shaped pestle of marble (Helladic or Cycladic), and Melian obsidian. Four magnificent stone axes [2 of nephritoid (?), 1 of jadeite (?), and 1 of lazurite), imitating weapons produced in bronze, have their closest parallels in roughly contemporary finds from the central and northern Caucasus, as well as in finds some seven centuries later from a hoard found near Borodino in Besserabia. Two of the four splendidly carved and polished axes from Troy II preserve traces of gilding.

Terracotta: Spindle whorls are common. In one IIg house was found evidence for a loom in the form of three or four parallel rows of loomweights, although this hardly proves the existence of a true weaving industry at Troy. Spindle whorls are now often decorated with incised patterns. Only one terracotta figurine fragment was found.

Bone: In addition to pins, needles, and awls, a bone tube decorated with incised patterns almost certainly is an import from the Cyclades (where it would have been used as a pigment container), while two bone plaques with knobbed decoration have close parallels in Sicily, Malta, and Lerna IV (EH III Peloponnese).

Pottery: In early Troy II, the pottery continues the tradition of Troy I. As Troy II progresses, more of the pottery is red to tan in color instead of black, although black-polished ware is still common. In Troy IIb, the first evidence for the use of the fast wheel appears in the form of bowls with flaring sides. The introduction of the wheel leads to the popularity of new shapes, shallow dishes and plates in red-slipped-and-polished ware. Such wheelmade types increase in quantity in Troy IIc. In phase IId, the depas amphikypellon, a highly distinctive form of two-handled tankard or flagon, appears in red-washed ware. One- and two-handled tankards, first appearing in Troy IIa, have become extremely popular by the middle of Troy II. The first face-pots and face-lids appear between middle and late Troy II. The anthropomorphic features of these vases are generally agreed to be directly descended from the incised facial features on the interior rims of the bowls of Troy I.

Burials: Only three were found by the Cincinnati expedition in the 1930’s: (a) Adult female (30), contracted in pit in hollow of fortification wall of Troy IIa. No grave goods. Pit lined with a few slabs set on edge. Dated to Troy IIb-c. (b) Child (8), contracted in pit under house floor. No grave goods. Dated to Troy IIf. (c) Child (12-13), flexed in pit under house floor. Bit of lead wire with body. Dated to Troy IIg. It seems that intramural child burial was practised, but adult burials must have been made outside the settlement.

Chronology: Troy II is broadly contemporary with the middle and later stages of the Korakou and Keros-Syros cultures of EH IIA and EC IIA respectively.

Troy III (West Anatolian EB 3 (early): ca. 2250-2100/2050 B.C.)

Deposit 2.0-2.65 m. deep. Three or four architectural phases. Town demolished at end of Troy III, although for no obvious reason.

Architecture: Free-standing houses are rare, if they occur at all. Most “houses” at first appear to be one-to-three-room apartments in larger complexes, one apartment sharing party walls with another, but it is not altogether clear how these larger units might differ from the insulae of late Troy II. Characteristic of Troy III is the tendency to construct buildings entirely of stone rather than of mudbrick on a stone socle. No portion of a fortification wall was found by Schliemann, Dörpfeld, or Blegen, but Korfmann has found two stages of a fortification wall assignable to this period about halfway between the later Troy II gates FM and FO and somewhat to the south. This discovery explains the consistently horizontal deposition of Troy III strata noted by Blegen within the probable line of these fortifications.

Metal: Not very much was found. Of 22 copper pins, one is of Cycladic type but the rest all have parallels in Troy I-II.

Stone: The marble and limestone figurines are of types found in Troy I-II and the amount of obsidian found is fairly small.

Terracotta: Spindle whorls continue to be common, the types continuing from Troy II. Animal figurines (clearly quadrupeds, but are they dogs, sheep, or cattle?) appear for the first time but are poorly modelled.

Pottery: This is virtually indistinguishable from that of Troy II. Shapes include flaring bowls, tankards, depa, spouted and beaked jugs, face-pots and face-lids. Imported EH and/or EC vessels are mostly large, possibly brought to Troy III primarily for their contents. A new shape is the beak-spouted jug. Korfmann estimates the amount of Troy I ceramic types still in use during Troy III at roughly 50% of the total pottery found in a deposit of the latter period. This fact suggests that the lighter colored, wheelmade wares which become increasingly more popular during Troy II and III may have served as high-status table wares and should not be viewed necessarily as the standard or even typical pottery of the EB 2 and earlier EB 3 periods at Troy.

Burials: None were found by the Cincinnati expedition.

Animal Bone: There is a large enough increase in the number of deer bones to make deer the most common animal represented. This fact presumably represents a significant increase in hunting, but the reason for such a change is unknown.

Chronology: Troy III is probably contemporary with the “Lefkandi I”, or “Kastri group”, culture of the EC IIB Cyclades and the EH IIB central Greek Mainland. In the northern Peloponnese, the contemporary culture would be the last stages of the Korakou culture of the EH IIA period – the time of Building BG and the House of the Tiles at Lerna III, for example.

Summary of Troy I-III

As a result of his first six seasons of excavation at Troy, Korfmann has concluded that the culture of Blegen’s first three “cities” exhibits so many continuities in fortification and domestic architecture, pottery, figurines, spindle whorls, etc. that it should be viewed as a unity. Because of its extremely close links with the material culture of a substantial number of other fortified, coastal sites on both the western Anatolian mainland and several of the large islands in the eastern Aegean (Chios, Lemnos, Lesbos), Korfmann proposes that this culture be named the “Maritime Troia culture”. In addition to its extensive Aegean distribution, this culture extends north beyond the Dardanelles/Hellespont into the Sea of Marmara.

Troy IV (West Anatolian EB 3 (middle): ca. 2100/2050-2000/1950 B.C.)

Deposit 1.70-2.0 m. deep. Five architectural phases (a-e). The town is totally redesigned at the beginning of Troy V, but as in the case of Troy III, there is no known reason for Troy IV’s demolition.

Architecture: Traces of a fortification wall are said to have been found on the south and east sides, but these were not substantial. Houses are built on a different orientation from that typical of Troy III and are once again built of mudbrick on a stone socle. A possibly new house plan consists of a row of about four two-room residential units fronting on the same street, a new form of block or “insula”. The domed oven is introduced at the beginning of the period.

Metal: Very little was found, seven of the eleven pieces recovered by the Cincinnati expedition being pins. None of the types are new.

Stone: The figurines are of familiar types, as is the chipped stone of flint and obsidian.

Terracotta: A greater percentage of the common spindle whorls are decorated (ca. 65%), but otherwise these are much the same as in Troy III.

Pottery: Straw-tempering, first employed in Troy III for large vases, is now normal. By this time, most vases are wheelmade, although some continue to be handmade. A new shape is the jar with wing-like handles and spiraliform plastic decoration. Red-cross bowls are also new, but the rest of the pottery is much the same as before.

Burials: None were found by the Cincinnati expedition in the 1930’s.

Animal Bone: Deer is still the most popular single species, followed by pig, sheep/goat, cow, and rabbit.

Chronology: A wing-handled jar of the type characteristic of Troy IV was found by Caskey in Lerna IV, and a fragment of Early Helladic III pattern-painted pottery found at Troy was assigned Troy IV as a context. Thus Troy IV is at least partially, and perhaps largely, contemporary with the EH III period on the Greek Mainland.

Troy V (West Anatolian EB 3 (late): ca. 2000/1950-1900/1850 B.C.)

Deposit 1.50 m. deep. Three to four architectural phases. There is no evidence for a destruction of any particular kind at the end of Troy V.

Architecture: No fortification wall has been found, but the horizontal stratification of Troy V levels strongly suggest that the site was ringed by a fortification, and Korfmann claims to have found some actual evidence for this in the central portion of Schliemann’s “great trench”. The architecture of the houses is much the same as in Troy IV, but the walls are more neatly built, the rooms more regularly laid out, and the residential units somewhat larger. There is an increase in built-in furniture such as fixed hearths, ovens, benches, etc. Rooms are kept cleaner and therefore less material has been preserved for the archaeologist. All of these developments suggest a general rise in the standard of living.

Metal: A knife, a chisel, three pins, and a few odd bits of wire were found. Analyses show that tin-bronze is now normal.

Terracotta: The range of types is identical to that typical of Troy II-IV.

Pottery: No significant changes differentiate this from the pottery of Troy IV.

Burials: One infant burial was found by the Cincinnati expedition in a pit below a house floor. There are no adult burials nor evidence outside the settlement for an extramural cemetery.

Animal Bone: The evidence for deer decreases and the bones of pig and cow now become the most frequent types found.

Chronology: The red-cross- bowls common in Troy V appear much earlier in the EH IIA period at Lerna (stratum III) and Caskey regards the two occurrences as independent phenomena. Troy V is probably contemporary with the Phylakopi I culture of the MC I period in the Cyclades, with the earliest MH on the Greek Mainland, and with MM IA on Crete.

Summary of Troy IV-V

There appears to be a significant shift in material culture between Troy III and Troy IV, a change that Korfmann would like to recognize by calling the culture of Troy IV-V the “Anatolian Troia culture” so as to stress its greater connections with the interior of Anatolia in comparison to its more Aegean-oriented predecessor, the “Maritime Troia culture”. Several of the features that in Blegen’s account make their first appearance in Troy III are considered by Korfmann rather to be diagnostic of this later “Anatolian Troia culture”: the extensive use of party walls in domestic architecture; the use of organic tempering for pottery; the increased exploitation of wild species in the faunal record, presumably reflecting increased attention to hunting; and the appearance of such ceramic types as beak-spouted jugs with cutaway necks, {trefoil} [i.e. trilobate, with a pinched out, troughed spout at the front opposite the handle] mouths on jugs, and red-cross-bowls.


This site lies on the western Anatolian coast some 25 kms. west of modern Izmir and immediately adjacent to the major Ionian city of Clazomenai. Excavated only during the past decade, and intermittently rather than continuously, this impressive site has yielded a richly stratified Bronze Age sequence in which settlements IV (EB 3 transitional to MB), V (EB 2, with three sub-phases), and VI (EB I) are of principal interest in the present context. Both the EB I and EB 2 settlements are ringed by massive fortification systems exhibiting projecting bastions (Limantepe V) and battering as a feature of at least the lower portion of the city walls (Limantepe V-VI). These fortifications, still preserved in places up to over six meters in height and thought to have once stood at least twelve meters high, extend around the entire settlement and can be traced underwater for several hundreds of meters where the original height of the settlement has been eroded by the sea. The underwater portion of the site, so far only mapped and not tested at all by excavation, includes a clearly defined mole or breakwater, 30 m. long and still standing 5 m. high, and thus a partially protected harbor. The architecture of the EB 3 period (Limantepe IV) appears significantly different, consisting of several freestanding buildings that are elliptical in plan. A building within the walls of Limantepe V at one point considered possibly to be an example of a “Corridor House” appears rather to be a series of long, narrow storage rooms built up against an imposing interior terrace wall. The EB architecture makes extensive use of mudbrick, but there are as yet no obvious uses of cut stone nor of half-timbering.

The pottery of the later EB 2 period (Limantepe V late) is of considerable interest in witnessing the sparing appearance of wheelmade pottery, much of it in the form of red- and black-slipped and burnished tankards and two-handled cups that are some of the characteristic shapes of the “Kastri group” in the late EB 2 Cyclades. It may well be that the area of the western Anatolian coast around Limantepe was the source of the Anatolianizing pottery in the “Kastri group” assemblage, whether imported peacefully or brought by warrior bands migrating across the Aegean from east to west at the close of the EB 2 period.

Thermi on Lesbos

Excavations published in 1936 identified five levels (I-V, beginning at the bottom), all of EBA date.

Pottery and Chronology: The pottery is broadly comparable to that of Troy I. There is no evidence for the fast wheel nor for distinctive shapes such as the depas amphikypellon or the beak-spouted jug. However, in level V were found fragments of EH (or EC) II Urfirnis sauceboats. Although Thermi I-V were for forty years synchronized with Troy I, Podzuweit’s detailed ceramic analysis of 1979 suggested that the Thermi sequence was contemporary with all of Troy I-II. Now that Korfmann’s excavations at Troy have shown that pottery of Troy I types continues to be dominant throughout Troy II and even into Troy III, the absence at Thermi of the paler-firing, often wheelmade wares previously considered diagnostic of Troy II need no longer be considered as significant as heretofore, especially if these more technologically advanced Trojan wares functioned as status objects. Thermi clearly belongs to Korfmann’s “Maritime Troia culture”

Architecture: Thermi I-II are unfortified, but a wall defends the site in phases III-V. The domestic architecture is typified by long, narrow rectangular houses usually consisting of between three and five rooms and often sharing party walls. In contrast to the hierarchically organized “royal fortress” of Troy, Thermi comes across as a more egalitarian “walled town”, a larger version of the more recently excavated settlement at Demirci Hüyük which, like Troy, is located on the northwest Anatolian Mainland but much further inland than Troy itself.

Other Artifacts: Terracotta figurines, so rare at Troy, are common at Thermi where they are clearly preferred to the stone versions so popular at Troy. Metal items include daggers, a spear, and a knife.

Poliochni on Lemnos

As published, this settlement goes through seven phases: Black/Nero (I), Blue/Azzurro (II), Green/Verde (III), Red/Rosso (IV), Yellow/Giallo (V), Brown/Bruno (VI), and Mycenaean (VII).

Black/Nero (I)

In this village of oval huts, the pottery is thick-walled and black-burnished. Tools are made exclusively of stone and bone, there being no metal. Although this settlement is usually dated before Troy I, Podzuweit argues that it is contemporary with early Troy I.

Blue/Azzurro (II)

This larger settlement is furnished with a defensive wall. Metal finds include pins, awls, and a dagger. Furthermore, a mould for a shaft-hole axe indicates local casting of tools and weapons. Stamp seals also appear. This town is dated to early Troy I by Renfrew, to late Troy I and early Troy II by Podzuweit.

Green/Verde (III)

Red/Rosso (IV)

A hoard of bronzes, including a shaft-hole axe and a series of daggers and other forms of tools and weapons, comes from this level. This settlement is dated to late Troy I and early II by Renfrew, to mid-Troy II by Podzuweit.

Yellow/Giallo (V)

A fortified town considerably larger than the contemporary walled citadel of Troy, this settlement consists of houses constructed as large multi-roomed “insulae”, or blocks. At the core of these insulae are megaron units, but these are combined with corridors and rows of smaller rooms into architectural ensembles that are quite different in detail from either the freestanding megara of Troy I-II or the party-walled megara of Thermi III-V. As in Troy IIg, a good deal of gold jewelry was found in the ruins of this phase, as well as an imported cylinder seal. Renfrew and Podzuweit agree in putting this phase contemporary with late Troy II, Troy III, and perhaps part of Troy IV.

Brown/Bruno (VI)

After a gap in occupation, Poliochni is resettled at this time, probably at a date contemporary with Troy V.

Summary of Poliochni

Phases Blue, Green, Red, and Yellow at Poliochni clearly correspond to various stages of Korfmann’s “Maritime Troia culture”. The connections are clearest in Phases Red and Yellow, but the amount of wheelmade pottery at Poliochni, though greater than at Thermi, never rivals that to be found in contemporary deposits at Troy. As in the case of Thermi, Poliochni appears more like a “walled town” than a “royal fortress” along the lines of Troy. The settlement architecture of Poliochni Giallo (Yellow), however, reveals more variability in size and internal appointments than does that at Thermi, so perhaps the social structure of the community resident on Lemnos was neither as egalitarian nor as autocratic as the contemporary groups living at Thermi and Troy, respectively.

General Comment on Architecture at Troy and Related Sites in the Northeastern Aegean

Both at Troy and elsewhere, sites of the earlier EBA (Thermi, Demirci Hüyük, Troy I-IIc) are characterized by large megara of much the same size, each consisting of just two to three rooms. When freestanding, these megara presumably had doubly pitched roofs, but when built up against one another in the way they are at Thermi and Demirci Hüyük, they must have had flat roofs. In the later EBA (Poliochni Yellow, Troy IIg-IV, and possibly Limantepe later EB 2), such architecture gives way to smaller complexes which incorporate megaron units of greatly reduced size. These buildings must have had flat roofs, too.

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