Wednesday, August 17, 2022

Aerial Drones Reveal Elevation Changes in the Plain of Troy

It has been difficult to find a photo or video online that shows the plain of Troy.  There are lots of photos looking north from Schliemann's trench, but few looking west, into the plain.  I finally got the bright idea to search for drone footage and found some.  So, I now have a small collection of westward looking shots, and a lot to say about them.  

The common photos looking north from the trench usually show the village of Kumkale on a ridge across the Dumbrek valley, and a slope ascending to the left, going uphill onto the mound in the plain.  Below are two drone views looking north over the trench, showing the same souvenir view lots of travelers took home, but from a much elevated position.  

The footage above can be found at Shutterstock, and shows a white van going uphill in the plain.  

The above view of Hissarlik looking ENE shows the same road and valley that we just saw rising as they approach the mound in the plain.  Behind that you can see the valley coming down from the mountains.  It should continue downhill and head out to sea to our left.  Instead, it rises.  

So, the valley north of Hissarlik rises as it passes the citadel.  

Now I want to establish that the ground directly in front of Hissarlik also rises.  Walking west from Hissarlik is an uphill walk.  

The photo above creates four markers, the Marsh, the Tree between Hissarlik and the marsh, a Bridge and Field 1.  Field 1 has a road curving around its south end that then turns east toward Hissarlik.  It is at one end of a row of small fields on the east side of the canal that has the bridge at its other end.  

The following pictures demonstrate that Field 1 is elevated above the foot of Hissarlik.  

If you walk down to the front of Hissarlik and continue west into the plain, you must climb a hill.  The road from Hissarlik to Field 1 runs uphill, just like the road to its north that reaches the bridge.

Field 1 is not "below" Hissarlik in the plain. It is on a hill in the plain across from Hissarlik. From the SE corner of Field 1, you can go downhill in two directions: to the south or to the east.  There are slopes in both directions.  Furthermore, the entire strip of fields starting with Field 1 and leading all the way to the bridge, are elevated.  One has to go uphill to reach them from the east.  

If the photos above have established that the road from Hissarlik to Field 1 runs uphill, we can move on to a further topic.  Examine the land behind Field 1, and notice that it continues to climb. 

From Hissarlik one must walk up 5 segments of incline to reach level 6, where the Tree sits in front of the marsh.  

From Field 1, you have to walk uphill through levels 4 and 5 to reach the marsh on level 6.  So, Field 1 is uphill from the foot of Hissarlik, and the marsh is significantly uphill from there.  

It is indisputable that the ground runs uphill from the foot of Hisarlik to the west.  Furthermore, as these final four photos show, the marsh in the plain of Troy is significantly elevated above even Field 1, which is itself elevated above the foot of Hisarlik. 

The marsh is a low spot in a mound.  

The mound is unnatural and should be investigated by science.  The fact that the marsh is growing suggests that the mound could be collapsing.  

Going west from Hisarlik, one walks uphill from section 1 to section 6, where it might be pretty level, until you approach section 7, where you go downhill into a marsh. You then go uphill again out of the marsh in section 8, and downhill again in sections 9 and 10. You should just go downhill from Hissarlik into a valley that is headed out to sea. But you do not. If you walk west from Hissarlik, you climb an unnatural mound to an unnatural marsh, and then climb out of the marsh and go down the other side of the mound to the river.  

All of that is unnatural, and all of it needs to be explained. The simplest and most obvious explanation is that there is a city in the plain causing the mound.  

FWIW, the unnatural elevation change west of Hissarlik has been captured in art.  

Video Links: 

Monday, August 15, 2022

Documented Growth of the Marsh in the plain of Troy

Historical satellite pictures at Google Earth prove that the marsh in the plain in front of Hisarlik grew larger between 2016 and 2019. 

The photos above are dated in their top left corners.  The first photo is from June, 2016. The second photo is from February, 2019. In the later photo, the marsh has grown a tail at its south end that reaches nearly to the bottom of the photo. This tail still exists in the October, 2020 photo below, which is the latest image available from Google.  The extended portion of the marsh does not occur in any of the earlier images, which go back to 2006. 

I don't have an interpretation of this.  I would expect a marsh that is being drained like this one to shrink rather than grow, but I can't really justify my expectation.  

Perhaps water is undermining the mound. I think the marsh is on top of a buried city, so, I wonder if the land is settling into the ruins below.  But surely marshes expand for reasons other than water and buried ruins.  

It seems certain that agribusiness would be making money on that land if they could. They used to make money from it. All of the historical pictures show planting and harvesting going on in that area, until 2019.  There must be a good reason they are no longer using that land to make money.   

There are no Google images for any years between 2016 and 2019.  Whether the productivity of that land was lost gradually or suddenly we cannot be sure.  The story of how it happened can be known, however, because people involved in agriculture in that area are still alive to be interviewed.  Finding out what happened would be a good topic for a young researcher who speaks Turkish.  

Why would a marsh grow like that? 

Friday, August 12, 2022

A Theory about the Greek Camp in the Iliad

Perhaps it is a myth

Perhaps the idea of the camp is based on looking down from Hissarlik and seeing shapes and even standing stones in the plain. It comes from a time when the existence of the city in the plain had faded from memory, and the citadel on the hill was all that anyone knew for certain.  One explanation for the irregularities and blocks in the plain was that a city had existed in the plain, the other was that the Greeks had built walls and lived behind them for ten years while besieging the city. Eventually, the heroic untruth won out over the boring truth, and Trojan constructions were thought to be Greek after that. 

I have been wanting to write about an anomaly in the plain of Troy that is not among the 17 so far discussed on this blog.  This seems like a good place to bring it up.  There is an unnatural looking, 800 meter long, isolated hill NNW of the great city in the plain.  

This isolated mound lies NW of the citadel around 1.7 miles. The ancient geographer Strabo (1st century bce) tells us that the Greek camp was 20 stades from Troy, which is around 2.2 miles.  The far end of the anomaly lies 2.1 miles from the citadel.  

I don't know what this mound looked like in Strabo's time. But perhaps it seemed more like a construction than a mound at that time.  Before that, it was perhaps a ruin, perhaps a tower and supporting structure.  This would have challenged imaginations to explain it.  Once the idea that the Trojans had lived in the flood plain had been lost, the idea that the ruins in the plain were Greek was easier to accept.  With that, the utterly unlikely story about invaders getting off their boats and building walls and towers could gain currency.  

The alleged Greek camp is not the only theory that might have been invented to explain the irregularities in the plain.  The theory of the Fort of Heracles might also have originally gained life as an explanation for an irregularity in the plain, maybe the one we see above.  Below are two quite different translations of Iliad book XX, line 144f; first by Andrew Lang and Walter Leaf, then by A.T. Murray.

Thus spake the blue-haired god, and led the way to the mounded wall of heaven-sprung Herakles, that lofty wall built him by the Trojans and Pallas Athene, that he might escape the monster and be safe from him, what time he should make his onset from the beach to the plain. There sate them down Poseidon and the other gods, and clothed their shoulders with impenetrable cloud.
So saying, the dark-haired god led the way to the heaped-up wall of godlike Heracles, the high wall that the Trojans and Pallas Athene had builded for him, to the end that he might flee thither and escape from the monster of the deep, whenso the monster drave him from the seashore to the plain. There Poseidon and the other gods sate them down, and clothed their shoulders round about with a cloud that might not be rent; and they of the other part sat over against them on the brows of Callicolone, round about thee, O archer Phoebus, and Aries, sacker of cities.

The Fort of Hercules was supposed to have been built with divine assistance to protect Hercules when he fought a sea monster. Could the idea of such a fortress have been based on the mound in the pictures above? It would have been much closer to the shoreline in Homer's time.  

24 Anomalies in the Plain of Troy

"From Hısarlık, we can see several other mounds." In Search of the Real Troy