ANKARA (Reuters) - Archaeologists in the ancient city of Troy in Turkey have found the remains of a man and a woman believed to have died in 1,200 B.C., the time of the legendary war chronicled by Homer, a leading German professor said on Tuesday.
Ernst Pernicka, a University of Tubingen professor of archaeometry who is leading excavations on the site in northwestern Turkey, said the bodies were found near a defense line within the city built in the late Bronze age.
The discovery could add to evidence that Troy’s lower area was bigger in the late Bronze Age than previously thought, changing scholars’ perceptions about the city of the “Iliad.”
“If the remains are confirmed to be from 1,200 B.C. it would coincide with the Trojan war period. These people were buried near a moat. We are conducting radiocarbon testing, but the finding is electrifying,” Pernicka told Reuters in a telephone interview.
Ancient Troy, located in the northwest of modern-day Turkey at the mouth of the Dardanelles not far south of Istanbul, was unearthed in the 1870s by Heinrich Schliemann, the German entrepreneur and pioneering archaeologist who discovered the steep and windy city described by Homer.
Pernicka said pottery found near the bodies, which had their lower parts missing, was confirmed to be from 1,200 BC, but added the couple could have been buried 400 years later in a burial site in what archaeologists call Troy VI or Troy VII, different layers of ruins at Troy.
Tens of thousands of visitors flock every year to the ruins of Troy, where a huge replica of the famous wooden horse stands along with an array of excavated ruins.
Writing by Ibon Villelabeitia; Editing by Ralph Boulton