Wednesday, April 28, 2021

Declivities in the Plain of Troy

I have pointed out all of the raised earth anomalies I know of in the plain of Troy in earlier posts.  There are also several weird low spots in the plain of Troy.  In this post I will point them out and discuss them. 
To start with, how about a low spot that is apparently no longer present in the plain?  This is a lake in the upper plain that has disappeared.  Judan Lake is shown on old maps, like the Spratt map below.  I have circled the lake in orange.  

I don't know anything about the lake, just that it was there when Spratt and Forschhammer visited the plain in the 1840's.  I am unsure when it disappeared.  

As things are now, there are five declivities to discuss.  I have circled them in orange below.  

The first one is on the far left, exiting the picture.  That is a cut through the coast line known as the Kesik Cut ("Kesik" means cut).  It starts in a marsh on the inside of the coastal ridge and cuts right through it to the other side.  I suspect it is for drainage and flood control.  However it is quite wide, much wider than would be necessary merely to drain the marsh.  So, it may have had another function, but it also might not be entirely man made.  There is a fault line in the plain that may exit at that spot.  The cut could be that a natural cleft was exploited and improved my humans.    

The second declivity is near the bottom of the picture, looking like a baseball field.  I believe that is a marsh.  It is possible that it is not a marsh. There can be few reasons for agri-business to have left such a large area unplanted.  Assuming it is a marsh, it is another element of the plain that is hard to explain.  

The third and fourth declivities are near Kalifat.  Two pretty obviously man-made low spots.  One of them is at the south end of the city, and may have held water for domestic use.  The other is across the river from there, sitting between two man-made mounds.  They both seem to be part of a flood control system.  

The fifth declivity is at the north end of the city.  It is in a complicated area of the plain.  A large area south of the road there is never planted.  The area looks like a marsh. But it might not be.  I figure there must be a good reason as to why agri-business does not plant those fields.  Marshiness would be a good reason.  On the other hand, perhaps it is a park.  Or perhaps it has owners who don't want to farm it and will not sell it to those who do.  My point is to ask for an explanation here, not to provide one. 

North of the road is a triangular low spot between higher areas.  Below are two views of the area.  

The low spot on the north end of the mound corresponds to a feature drawn by 19th century map makers showing a similar low spot.  For example, on the map from Thomas Spratt below, and on the one above showing the lake, the low spot is significantly north of Hissarlik between the Kalifatli Asmak and the abandoned bed (Winter Channel) of the Scamander (which is its current bed today).  

In the map above, the low spot is beneath the words Kum Koi (Sand Village) at the top right center of the picture. An arrow there might indicate a current running west to east.  

In the map above, the low spot is beneath the words Kuom Kioi and Columns.  

In the map above, the low spot in question is represented with a two pronged, canal like diagram, above the words Koom Keui.  I used the above graphic in an earlier post when I did not know where I had gotten it.  I have rediscovered the source since then.  It is from a book called Maritime Networks in the Mycenaean World.  

It is because of these old maps that I suspect the area at the north end of the mound contains a marsh.  Take a look at the old map below, in which North is at the bottom of the picture.  

This map is dated1627, making it more than 200 years older than the Spratt maps (the letter markings on the map are interpreted at the link).  It shows a large jagged lake behind the beach of Troy, and smaller lake closer to the shoreline.  Note that behind the bigger lake is the confluence of two rivers.  That is supposed to be the Scamander and the Simois (the M in the bay of Troy marks the "mouth of Simois and Scamander").  The two rivers do not actually meet, though many talk as though they do.  The Simois turns into the Intepe Asmak, while the Scamander reaches the sea on the other side of the plain, near Sigeum.  At any rate, the lakes in this drawing (especially the big one) are curious. Why are they there?  Why did they disappear?  

That lake, if you accept it, would make a 7th notable declivity in the plain of Troy (and the second that has disappeared in modern times), unless you think it is just the 6th one listed here, that is, in other words, if you think it is the marshy area on the complicated, north end of the tell.  

I have gone back and forth on this. If I was asked to explain it, I would speculate that the Spratt maps and the satellite photo suggest that the larger of the two lakes is probably the final declivity listed above. At that time, it was still a lake

The existence of the city in the plain along with its flood control works can explain almost all of the modern declivities.  All of the declivities circled in orange on the satellite photo above probably result from human interventions.  

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