Monday, December 12, 2022

On the Status of the Argument for a City in the Plain at Troy

Question: did the new, westward looking photos of the plain in front of Hisarlik strengthen the argument for the thesis that there is probably a city buried in the plain of Troy? 

Answer: those photos reinforce and illustrate the proposition that there is an unnatural looking mound in the plain in front of Hisarlik.  The mound still must be explained. The best explanation remains that the mound was caused by a city.  

Question: that's all? 

Answer: well, there has been an objection open to a critic which went like this: you are imagining the rise in the plain, there is no rise, there is no mound, etc.  The new, westward looking stills from the drones put that kind of objection to rest. The unnatural mound is obvious both in satellite and in drone images.  It can be seen from a satellite, from a low flying aircraft and from the ground.  

My original argument starts from the observation that there is a large mound in front of Hisarlik that looks unnatural. The new photos can serve only to reinforce that observation.  

It then proceeds as follows. 

The unnatural mound in front of Hisarlik is a mile wide. 

Ancient humans were unlikely to create anything that would make a mound that big except cities. 

Therefore, the mound probably contains a buried city. 

Given that unnatural features in a landscape can only be explained on the basis of human interventions, the mound in front of Hisarlik must be explained on the basis of one or more human activities, such as hunting, agriculture, horse training, meat preparation, tool making, burial of the dead, religious observance, mining, boat building and so on. My second premise assumes that only one human activity could have created a mound that large, and that is the building of cities.  

Test that argument for its strength, but remember it is not the only support I have offered for the thesis that the mound in the plain is probably a buried city.  There are other factors to consider.  

To begin with, there are sizable mounds upstream from Hisarlik that also need to be explained.  They are so big, in fact, that my second premise might suggest that they are probably cities.  And of course I cannot eliminate the bare possibility that some or all of them are settlement mounds. However, I can argue that it would be a bit odd to have so many cities in a little flood plain like the one at Troy, a mere two by eight miles (six miles in the bronze age).  There are two mounds and a berm near Kalafat, and there are two mounds below Pinarbasi. Together with the mile wide mound in front of Hisarlik, that would make six settlements in the plain, which seems like too many. Four of them would be within a mile of one another.  The other two would be right next to one another below Pinarbasi.  Why would they be in those locations?  What makes more sense is that the huge mound below Hisarlik is a single, large city and the five mounds up stream from it, all of which lie along the path of the Karamendere/Scamander river, represent support structures for that city.  Given that the city lies in a flood plain, and flood plains are subject to flooding, it seems reasonable to suspect that the support structures along the river have something to do with water and/or flood control.  

In addition to the mounds and declivities that indicate extensive human intervention in the plain, there are history and legends to consider. These tell of a great city in a plain, not just a little town on a hill.  Troy was supposed to be the richest city in Asia. The king of Troy was called the king of Asia. Homer described it as a rich port. 

There is also a stratigraphy study that found artifacts in drill cores from the plain.  I have not yet found out which cores had artifacts and which did not.  Only a few cores went into the large mound, but what little was found helps my case by suggesting that there are more artifacts to be found there.  

To sum up then: The observation that there is a large, unnatural mound in the plain of Troy is supported by satellite, drone and ground based images.  The thesis that the large mound in front of Hisarlik probably contains the remains of a city is supported by history and legend, by physical artifacts found deep in in the plain, and by two inferences to the best explanation. One of these infers from the large mound to its cause, a city.  The other infers from the existence of other mounds and human interventions in the plain to their cause, support for a city.  


In the photo below, the Tree in front of the Marsh is elevated above the trees that line the canal between segments 3 and 4.  That change in elevation is unnatural and is probably caused by a buried city.  

Looking West in the photo below, Field 1 is significantly elevated above the foot of Hisarlik, while the Tree and Marsh are elevated above Field 1.  The uphill slope running westward from Hisarlik to segment 6 is unnatural and probably caused by human interventions in the plain. 

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