…if hereafter the gods vouchsafe him to sack the city
you can come when we Achaeans are dividing the spoil,
and load your ship with gold and bronze to your liking.
Homer. The Iliad. Translation by Samuel Butler.
The position occupied by Troy in the
context of ancient history of Anatolia and South-Eastern
Europe needs no explanations. Heinrich Schliemann was the
first to investigate this site archaeologically over 130 years
ago, since 1870 (Schliemann, 1881), and it has been one of the
most important monuments in Western Asia and the Balkans ever
since, despite Schliemann s erroneous ideas on the chronology
of the antiquities he had discovered. The epoch of the Trojan
War berhymed in Homer s Iliad corresponds to stratum VII of
the site and dates to the Early Iron Age, whilst the most
impressive cultural deposits were formed in the Bronze Age,
this period comprising five lower strata of the ancient city (Blegen
et al., 1950; 1951; 1953). Chronological sequence of Troy
represents the ground for dating numerous archaeological
cultures and sites, both adjacent and distant ones; it is
permanently adjusted and improved using traditional and modern
methods, including radiocarbon dating (Korfmann, Kromer,
Of special interest is the theme of Trojan
metal finds, among them those made of precious metals
originating from numerous hoards, or treasures, that also were
erroneously dated back to the epoch of Homer by Schliemann.
Recently the problems related to the Trojan collections has
become the subject of wide discussion in Russia, in particular,
the interest was induced by the exhibition shown in 1996 in
the Pushkin Museum of Fine Arts in Moscow and the conference
Troy and her treasures held in the same year (Сокровища
Трои из раскопок Генриха Шлимана,
I have participated in the long-term
project of the Laboratory of natural sciences, the Institute
of Archaeology, Russian Academy of Sciences, concerning the
problems of the Circumpontic metallurgical province, and it
was quite logical that my attention turned to the metal finds
from Troy. During last 15 years my activity was aimed at
compiling and extending computer database (DB) for ancient
metal artefacts, detailed information on those from Troy being
recorded. The results were published (Авилова,
Черных, 1989; Černyh et al., 1991), but the Trojan
material was included into the general DB for Asia Minor and
was not presented as the subject of special publication. The
present work seems of some interest to improve this situation,
the more so that the detailed catalogue of the mentioned
exhibition contains also the data on the collections from Troy
preserved in the museums of Philadelphia and Athens. This has
permitted to verify quantitative and morphological
characteristics of the Trojan DB published in the present
paper, which also suggests the comprehensive evaluation (to
the extent now possible) of the collection of non-ferrous and
precious metals from Troy considered the against background of
culturally related sites of Anatolia.
I should briefly dwell upon the computer DB
structure. All the materials are divided into classes in
accordance with their function, and classes comprise sets of
categories. Class 1 includes tools and weapons, such as
shaft-hole axes, flat axes, chisels, spearheads, knives/daggers,
awls, sickles, and so forth. Class 2: personal ornaments and
costume details (beads, pins, pendants, earrings, buckles, and
the like). Class 3: protective armour (helmets, plait armour
details). Class 4: horse harness (cheek-pieces, rein-rings).
Class 5: metal vessels. Class 6: objects of religious purpose
and markers of high social status (figurines, seals, musical
instruments details, wands, and so forth). Class 7:
non-finished goods (ingots, blanks). Class 8: negatives on
casting moulds, both stone and clay ones. Class 0: artefacts
of unclear function, fragments. Principally, one artefact
corresponds to one DB record containing its characteristic.
Nevertheless, sometimes it was impossible to keep this
principle, since there are a number of objects that cannot be
counted absolutely accurately. Mostly these are small personal
ornaments seriously damaged (oxidised or burnt), like
necklaces of many tiny beads, or sets of earrings. Such cases
are not numerous, nevertheless they were taken into account,
and the way out was to evaluate the number of objects
approximately at least to shape an idea of whether there were
tens or hundreds of the finds of this kind. In fact, the above
approach contains an element of uncertainty, but it cannot
play any decisive role for the vast collection in question, so
the basic figures seem to be quite reliable.
Each DB record includes around 50 fields
that describe the artefact proper (category, type, shape,
construction); cultural and chronological attribution of the
find (archaeological association, stratigraphic and cultural
context, relative chronology); references to the site,
excavations, publications; material used (metal, or alloy
formula if the artefact was spectrally analysed and 10
chemical elements content established). The DB was processed
using special statistical programs worked out in the
Laboratory of natural sciences, the Institute of Archaeology.
The results are shown in the published tables.
The presented material was distributed
according to two basic chronological the Early and the Middle
Bronze Ages. The EBA corresponds to level I of Troy, and the
MBA to layers II-V. The periods of the Late Bronze Age (Troy
VI) and the Early Iron Age (Troy VII) are not considered in
this work. The database includes 32381 finds from Troy, all
the artefacts but 4 stone shaft-hole axes attested to treasure
L were made of copper and copper-based alloys, silver, gold,
and lead. Striking disparity of the total amount of finds as
considered within the chronological periods is observed: only
10 of them are dated to the EBA, and 32371 to the MBA. The
contrast is even more staggering if the metals represented in
the both collections is taken into account. The EBA artefacts
are made of copper/bronze, one lead item being registered,
while the MBA collection comprises mass finds manufactured of
precious metals (gold and silver), the former making the
overwhelming majority of practically 99% (Table 1).
Troy. Chronological distribution of finds.
Considerable difference is also observed in
representativeness of the functional classes of finds, class 1
of tools/weapons and class 2 of personal ornaments being the
basic statistical indicators. Again the picture of sharp
contrast in their distribution arises: in the EBA selection,
though strongly limited, only the mentioned classes are
present in equal parts, whilst in the next period the
repertoire of functionally different classes is far more
extensive. Besides tools/weapons and personal ornaments there
appear metal vessels, objects of religious purpose and social
markers, as well as half-finished items (the silver ingots of
standard shape and weight, golden wire with regularly cut up
marks on it to produce small ornaments). These observations
evidence not only sharp quantitative growth of production, but
also impressive diversity of the repertoire of metal artefacts
Troy. Chronological distribution of functional classes
|Functional classes of finds
|1 - tools/weapons
|2 - ornaments
|5 - vessels
|6 - finds of religious purpose
|7 - half-finished items
Personal ornaments are enormously abundant,
they dominate over the remainder making over 99% of the
selection. A question may arise, whether it is correct to
interpret all the multiple minor finds, such as beads,
pendants making up necklaces and diadems, and so forth to be
registered as a separate artefact each. I consider them to be
such, since each tiny bead was produced individually: cast or
forged, then processed by a professional craftsman with
certain labour expenditure. The value of the raw material also
should be taken into account. Gold and silver were highly
valued in prehistoric times, price ratio of gold to copper in
ancient Babylonia was approximately 1 to 1000, and that of
silver to copper was determined around 1 to 180 (Янковская,
1986). That is why beads and pendants were counted accurate to
one, to the extent possible.
The cultural deposits dated back to the
discussed epoch of the MBA had yielded a number of individual
finds and 14 associations of artefacts traditionally termed as
treasures (on the reliability of this attribution see below).
I should give a brief account for the composition of the
Treasure A (Priam s treasure). 27259
finds (27210 Au, 7 Ag, 42 bronze). 10 knives, 15 flat axes, 3
chisels, 8 spearheads, 1 saw of bronze; 13 vessels (5 bronze,
4 Au, 4 Ag); 8130 Au beads; 16 Au pendants; 44 Au conical
plates; great Au diadem (includes 16441 details: 12271 rings,
4066 scale-plates, 90 chains, 14 pendant idols); minor Au
diadem (includes 2211 details: 1750 rings, 354 scale-plates,
64 chains, 1 ribbon, 42 pendant idols); 2 Au basket-shaped
earrings (totally include 158 details: 11 chains, 118
scale-plates, 18 tubes, 11 pendant idols); 2 Au basket-shaped
earrings (totally include 145 details: 11 chains, 107
scale-plates, 16 tubes, 11 pendant idols); 51 Au lunate
earrings; 3 Au bracelets; 3 Au torques (bracelets?); 4 Au
tacks; 3 Ag ingots.
Treasure В. 3 finds. 3 vessels (1
bronze, 2 Ag).
Treasure С. 1 find. 1 bronze flat
Treasure D. 832 finds of Au. 1 pin,
5 lunate earrings, 2 granulated earrings, 1quadruple spiral
bead, 373 big hollow beads, ~450 loop-like pendants.
Treasure F. 12 finds of Au. 1
bracelet, 1 pin, 2 basket-shaped earrings, 2 ring-shaped
earrings, 1 bar-ingot with openings, 5 bar-ingots cut up with
Treasure H a. 62 finds of Au. 9
pendant idols, 5 chains, 48 scale-plates.
Treasure J. 171 finds. 169 finds of
Au. 5 lunate pendants, 5 lunate earrings, 1 basket-shaped
earring, 5 chains, 85 scale-plates, 5 pendant idols,
1quadruple spiral bead, 61 rings, 1 bracelet (torque?). 2
shapeless ornaments of Ag.
Treasure К. 5 bronze finds. 3 flat
axes, 1 anthropomorphic figurine, 1 open-work ornament of
Treasure L. 104 finds. 4 ceremonial
shaft-hole axes of stone, ~50 Au ornaments (conglomerate of
small-size artefacts), ~50 Ag ornaments (conglomerate of
Treasure N. 39 finds. 37 finds of Ag.
1 bracelet, 2 torques, 1 ring-shaped earring, 12 earrings in
conglomerate, 20 small beads in conglomerate. 2 finds of Au 1
lunate earring, 1 crescentic earring.
Treasure О. 2 finds of Au. 1 pin
surmounted with tiny vessels, 1 bispiral pin decorated with
Treasure R. 8 finds. 6 finds of Au.
1 pin, 1lunate earring, 1 quadruple spiral bead, 3 spirally
coiled wires. 2 bronze pins.
Treasure in room 206. 151 Au beads.
Treasure in room 252. 1284 finds of
Au. 2 pins, 1 ring-shaped earring, the remainder beads.
Two more treasures originate from layer VI
attested to the period of the Late Bronze Age and are not
considered in the paper. These are treasure Н b (large golden
plate decorated with rosette), and treasure P (5 bronze
artefacts 1 double-axe, 1 flat axe, 3 sickles).
The most of the associations in question
were discovered in the course of Schliemann s excavations,
their archaeological context is not quite clear, which is
logical having in mind the level of field investigations of
the epoch. Controversial information given by Schliemann in
his field records and publications had resulted in accusation
him of forgery; he was suspected of having put together the
artefacts found in many findspots at Troy (or even purchased
from the art dealers) to form a sensational artificial
association with the aim to cause a big stir in the scientific
circles. This concerned at least the most startling treasure A
(called by Schliemann Priam s treasure). The debates have
lasted till recently (Traill, 1983). However, the position of
those who do not back up these accusations (Easton, 1984)
seems to be more grounded, the more so that the posterior
excavations have also recovered treasures comprising precious
ornaments in rooms 206 and 252 of layer II g (Blegen et al.,
1950). Two reliable treasures of precious artefacts were
discovered in the settlement Eskiyapar in Central Anatolia
dated from the same period of Troy II-III (Özgüc,
The identification of the rich associations
from Schliemann s excavations as treasures proper raises much
more doubts, most probably, the scholar had not realised that
they were rather the burials of elite, a royal cemetery
similar to those investigated at Alacahöyük (Koşay,
1951) and Horoztepe (Özgüc, 1965). In fact, the
Bronze Age necropolis did exist at the site of Troy: the
burial in stone cist, though not furnished with grave goods
was accounted for by K. Blegen s excavations (Blegen et al.,
Let me suggest a brief survey of the
Anatolian sites comparable with Troy of the MBA epoch.
Eskiyapar treasures A and B. 1765
finds, 1531 Au, 234 Ag. They represent personal ornaments
(99,5%), 7 vessels, and ceremonial electrum shaft-hole axe.
Alacahöyük royal tombs. I
have succeeded in reliable recording 853 finds (330 ones of
bronze, 1 of iron, 491 Au, 31 Ag). They comprise personal
ornaments (74%), the items of religious function and markers
of high social status (13,6%), tools/weapons, and vessels.
Horoztepe (the remains of pillaged royal
cemetery). 110 finds were recorded (96 ones of bronze, 6
Au, 8 Ag). Their repertoire is not quite the same as that
displayed by Trojan complexes, the picture has been distorted
due to the finds' provenance from the illegal diggings.
Personal ornaments' share is very small (7%), the items of
religious purpose prevail (38%), classes of tools/weapons and
vessels are also numerous (33% and 21% respectively).
The above comparisons permit to state that
the amazingly rich associations from Schliemann s excavations
in Troy did not constituted absolutely isolated phenomena in
the Middle Bronze Age Anatolia. To show this I point out some
statistical characteristics of the Trojan collection of metal
artefacts against the background of Anatolia as a whole. Of 22
processed sites with the EBA deposits the collection of 373
finds originate, including trifling number of 10 items from
Troy I, which makes 2,7% of the total. As for the MBA
collection, cardinal shift is observed: 54 sites with the
corresponding deposits have produced 36586 finds, and 32371 or
88,5% of them were found in Troy. The rest of 4215 originate
from 53 other sites (Table 3).
Distribution of the MBA finds according to the
||Anatolia as a whole
Thus we can clearly see that in the EBA
Troy was an ordinary, moreover, a very modest settlement, and
Anatolia was far from being abundant in any metal artefacts,
it was surpassed by Mesopotamia and the Levant (the
corresponding databases include 580 and 700 finds respectively).
But the MBA epoch in Anatolia is marked by considerable
progress in metal producing and metalworking; the region had
shot ahead and occupied practically the same positions as
Mesopotamia, its social development having reached the stage
of early state. The MBA Anatolia displays all the indications
typical of this pattern of civilisation: urban settlements,
architecture of palace type, temple structures, cemeteries of
social elite. The impressive collections of metal artefacts,
including treasures of gold and silver finds should be viewed
as the evidences of this breakthrough. The present work is
also aimed at making more clear the position occupied in the
early society by jeweller s craft: it was its production that
served for visible personification and vivid manifestation of
the basic ideas of advanced social position, power, and
related material wealth, and their ideological substantiation.
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