BMCR 2017.10.04

Early Bronze Age Troy: Chronology, Cultural Development and Interregional Contacts

, , , Early Bronze Age Troy: Chronology, Cultural Development and Interregional Contacts. Proceedings of an International Conference Held at the University of Tübingen, May 8–10, 2009. Studia Troica Monographien, 8. Bonn: Dr. Rudolf Habelt Verlag, 2016. Pp. 408. ISBN 9783774939806. €85.00.

[The Table of Contents is listed below.]

This collection of essays arises out of a conference held in May 2009 at the University of Tübingen. Most papers are authored by former members of the Troy Project, which was directed by Manfred Korfmann starting in 1987, and, following his unexpected death in 2005, by Ernst Pernicka until 2012, when the last excavation campaign took place. The volume consists of five parts: (1) Chronology and Stratigraphy, (2) Cultural Development and Interregional Contacts, (3) Emergence of Stratified Societies, (4) Economy and Trade, and (5) Production and Distribution of Raw Materials and Craft Specialization.

The first part collects a group of six papers organized chronologically that address the chronology and stratigraphy of Troy based on the combined results of the new excavations and the old. By focusing on white painted pottery found at Troy, Mariana Tather presents the results of archaeometric analyses that suggest that white painted pottery is a local product (pp. 13–37). Mariya Ivanova presents a revision of the Troy I stratigraphy revealed at the bottom of the “North-South Trench,” which was first dug by Schliemann in 1879, and then by Blegen in the 1930s. While Blegen suggested that freestanding “megaron” houses determined the visual pattern of the earliest settlement, Ivanova argues that the “row house,” rather than the “courtyard house” was the most widespread type of village structure of Troy I (pp. 39–48).1 Peter Pavuk focuses on the so-called pinnacle in square E4/5, one of the few areas where Troy III–V levels were available. Pavuk discusses Dörpfeld’s dating outside the Early Bronze Age (EBA) citadel. This discussion rests on the information provided by Dörpfeld’s profiles, which constitute the only surviving evidence that allows for a holistic phase-by-phase reconstruction of the site-construction dynamics. Pavuk indicates that a “three-dimensional imagination” (p. 57) is needed to understand the complexity of Troy (pp. 49–60).

By combining old and new findings, Peter Jablonka presents a diachronic reconstruction of EBA settlement layout encompassing Troy I and II. By emphasizing the differences between Troy I, a nucleated village with only limited activity outside its walls, and Troy II, where most of the citadel was occupied by monumental architecture serving public or ritual functions, Jablonka points to the necessity for a substantial population to support the building and other activities on the citadel during the latter phase. An assessment of Schliemann’s “lower city” evidence hints, however, only at semipermanent structures encompassed by fortifications (pp. 61–74). Göksel Sazcı and Devrim Çaliș Sazcı present new evidence for Troy III, the least known of Troy’s nine EBA cultural phases (pp. 75–88). Finally, Blum focuses on Troy IV and V, and combines the results of the architectural and archaeozoological records with the site’s small finds and ceramics. In Troy IV and V the site seems to be inhabited by ordinary households, as can be inferred by artifact analysis. These show that the site became more closely connected to the southeastern and central parts of Anatolia at this time (pp. 89–119).

The second part, “Cultural Development and Interregional Contacts”, is the most conspicuous one, with nine papers covering an area stretching from western Anatolia to upper Thrace. In the paper authored by Barbara Horejs and Bernhard Weninger, the correlation between Troy I phases b–c (and perhaps d) and Çukuriçi Höyük architectural phases IV–III is discussed by presenting a set of 12 radiocarbon dates from the site. The importance of Troy as a chronological and cultural reference for the whole region is brought to light in the discussion of the wider context of the EBA evidence in the lower Kaystros Valley and the area in between Çukuriçi Höyük and Troy (pp. 123–145). Halime Hüryılmaz presents the interesting finds of Yenibademli, and their relationship to Troy I and the northern Aegean (pp. 147–155), while Hayat Erkanal and Vasıf Şahoğlu investigate the dwelling structures of levels VI and V from Liman Tepe, one of the major fortified harbor sites of the EBA Aegean (pp. 157–166). In addition to Liman Tepe, the University of Ankara carried out excavations at the Bakla Tepe cemetery as well. Some of these outstanding findings are discussed by Şahoğlu. Among them is a ring-shaped idol pendant, which is a distinctive type of Chalcolithic jewelry usually made of gold that has a wide distribution throughout Anatolia, the Aegean, and the Balkans (pp. 167–182). The importance of 3rd millennium metallurgy is illustrated by Göksel Sazcı (pp. 183–195). Lydia Berger and Walter Gauss discuss the complex stratigraphic and ceramic evidence of Aegina-Kolonna, where ten occupation phases are known, six of which (settlement phases I–VI, with their corresponding ceramic phases, A–F) belong to the EBA. In phases II and III influence from Anatolia is recognizable in some ceramic types and in other elements e.g., silver and gold jewelry. In the EH III, a significant change is evident, signaled by architectural phases IV, V, and VI, and by ceramic phases D–F. Aegina-Kolonna was in contact with both the Peloponnese and the east Aegean area at this time, and the eastern influence is recognizable in the late variant of the two-handled depas, while Aeginetan imports to Troy are attested from the Troy VI period only (pp. 209–228).

An interesting part of this section consists of contributions dealing with Troy’s relationship with the Balkans. Eylem Özdoğan presents the EBA excavations at Kanlıgeçit, a site in southern Thrace. The Megaron Phase 2 is characterized by the new fortified citadel, which reflects Anatolian urban models on a smaller scale with the presence of mud brick (phase 2c) and the Megaron (phase 2b) in the citadel. Phase 2a is characterized by the presence of both typical Balkan and Anatolian pottery. It is difficult to interpret Kanligeçit either as a “colonial expansion” of the Anatolian model in the Balkans, or as an adaptation made by “locals” to the “Anatolian way of living” (p. 206). At present the relationship between the southeastern Balkans and Anatolia remains highly problematic as Kanligeçit is the only site in Thrace showing these features (pp. 197–207). Further elements pointing to a relationship between the Balkans, Upper Thrace, and Troy are presented by Martin G. Hristov, who deals with prestige objects found in the Dubene mounds (pp. 229–237). By outlining trends in Bulgarian historiography in Balkan-Anatolia relations, Krassimir Leshtakov points to difficulties in correlating these two areas. On the basis of typological and technological evidence from ceramics, he deconstructs the idea of the random exchange of commodities between the Troy milieu and Upper Thrace, and proposes instead to move further north, to Upper Thrace, the limit of the East Mediterranean Interaction Sphere (pp. 239–255).

The “Emergence of Stratified Societies” is addressed by four papers. The rise of Troy as a protourban central place is compared by John Bintliff to the emergence of complex societies in the southern Aegean in the light of the new data from the Troy Project excavations (pp. 259–266). Özlem Çevik and Mehmet Sağır examine EBA architectural features from the Aegean and their relation to complex societies (pp. 267–275), while Thomas Zimmerman deals with the social complexity that can be observed in the burials of Alaca Höyük (pp. 277–287).

The “Economy and Trade” section comprises three papers. Canan Çakırlar discusses the available archaeozoological data from Troy in the larger framework of EBA Aegean foodways (pp. 291–303). Storage strategies at Troy are dealt with by Diane Thumm-Doğrayan, who discusses evidence from old excavations and argues that a large-scale storage strategy was in use at Troy as early as the EBA (pp. 305–318). Simone Riehl and Elena Marinova address EBA archaeobotanical remains at Troy. The results from the Troy I–IV contexts document climate change with increasing aridity. This modification challenged the population who developed a range of different strategies to cope with environmental and economic change (pp. 319–336).

The last section is devoted to “Production and Distribution of Raw Materials and Craft Specialization”. On the basis of evidence from Demicirkhöyük, Christoph Bachhuber shows the relevance of the woolen textile industry, connecting it to farming practices and interaction with the inhabited landscape, organization of labor, and the potential for assessing self-presentation/differentiation (pp. 339–363). Neyir Kolankaya Bostancı presents new insights into obsidian procurement and distribution in the EBA in the light of data from Liman Tepe and Bakla Tepe (pp. 365–374). Ivan Gatsov and Petranka Nedelcheva explore lithic assemblages from Troy, focusing on both local and imported raw materials (pp. 375–377), while Maria Gurova presents results of use-wear analysis on chipped stone assemblages from Troy I–V (pp. 379–395).

An overview of Troy’s relevance for Aegean archaeology by Sinan Ünlüsoy closes the volume (pp. 397–405).

This volume was published seven years after the Tübingen conference, which is quite a long interval of time. Despite this delay, most authors managed to update their references to 2014. The first two sections stand out for the quality of their contributions, however, important and interesting papers are present in every section of the volume. The overall quality of the volume suffers slightly from typos, and especially for the use of both Troy and Troia in referring to the site. This volume makes for valuable reading, which will keep us busy while we are waiting for the publication of the next volumes of the 1987–2012 excavations at Troy. We are really looking forward to them.2

Table of Contents

Ernst Pernicka, Preface p. 9
Chronology and Stratigraphy
Mariana Thater, White Painted Pottery in Early Bronze Age Troy, p. 13
Mariya Ivanova, Stratigraphy and Architecture of Troy I: The Excavations in “Schliemann’s Trench”, p. 39
Peter Pavúk, Dating of the Pinnacle in Square E4/5, Dörpfeld Stratigraphy and
Formation Processes at Troy, p. 49
Peter Jablonka, Beyond the Citadel: A Map of Greater Early Bronze Age Troy, p. 61
Göksel and Devrim Çalış Sazcı, The Troy III Period in Light of Recent Excavations, p. 75
Stephan W. E. Blum, The Final Stages of the Early Bronze Age at Troy: Cultural Development, Chronology, and Interregional Contacts, p. 89

Cultural Development and Interregional Contacts
Barbara Horejs – Bernhard Weninger, Early Troy and Its Significance for the Early Bronze Age in Western Anatolia, p. 123
Halime Hüryılmaz, Yenibademli and Troy: Reflection of Troy I Culture in the Light of
Archaeological Findings and Cultural Identity of Yenibademli, p. 147
Hayat Erkanal and Vasıf Şahoğlu, Liman Tepe, an Early Bronze Age Trade Center in Western Anatolia: Recent Investigations, p. 157
Vasıf Şahoğlu, Early Bronze Age Cemeteries at Bakla Tepe: Changing Patterns, p. 167
Göksel Sazcı, The Metal Finds of the 3rd Millennium in Troy and Their Counterparts
in the Early Bronze Age World, p. 183
Eylem Özdoğan, Kanlıgeçit – an Anatolian Model of an Urban Center in Eastern Thrace: An Overview, p. 197
Lydia Berger and Walter Gauss, Early Bronze Age Aegina Kolonna: A View from a Southwest Aegean Centre, p. 209
Martin G. Hristov, Dubene and Its Probable Contacts with the Aegaeo-Anatolian Region, p. 229
Krassimir P. Leshtakov, Troy and Upper Thrace: What Happened in the EBA 3? (Interrelations Based on Pottery Evidence), p. 239

Emergence of Stratified Societies
John Bintliff, Early Bronze Age Troy and the Emergence of Complex Societies in the Aegean, p. 259
Özlem Çevik and Mehmet Sağır, The Rise of the Elites on Both Sides of the Aegean Sea, p. 267
Thomas Zimmermann, Early Bronze Age Elites: A Fresh Look at Some Old and New Evidence from West and Central Anatolia, p. 277

Economy and Trade
Canan Çakırlar, Early Bronze Age Foodways in the Aegean: Social Archaeozoology on the Eastern Side, p. 291
Diane Thumm-Doğrayan, Storage Strategies in Early Bronze Age Troy, p. 305
Simone Riehl and Elena Marinova, The Interplay of Environmental Change, Socio-political Stress and Human Resilience at Early to Middle Bronze Age Troy, p. 319

Production and Distribution of Raw Materials and Craft Specialization
Christoph Bachhuber, The Industry and Display of Textiles in Early Bronze Age Western Anatolia, p. 339
Neyir Kolankaya-Bostancı, New Interpretations of Early Bronze Age Obsidian Procurement and Distribution in Western Anatolia, p. 365
Ivan Gatsov and Petranka Nedelcheva, Early Bronze Age Lithic Assemblages from Troia, p. 375
Maria Gurova, Troy I–V Chipped Stone Assemblages: Functional Connotations, p. 379
Sinan Ünlüsoy, Troy and the Aegean During the Third Millennium BC, p. 397


1. A more complete analysis on Troy I has already been presented in Maria Ivanova, “Domestic architecture in the Early Bronze Age of western Anatolia: The row-houses of Troy I,” Anatolian Studies 63 (2013): 17–33.

2. Ernst Pernicka, Stephan W. E. Blum, and Mariana Thater (eds.), Troia 1987–2012: Grabungen und Forschungen II. Troia I bis Troia V. Studia Troica Monographien 6, Bonn: Habelt, in preparation. Ernst Pernicka, Peter Jablonka, Peter Pavúk, Magda Pieniążek-Sikora, Diane Thumm-Doğrayan (eds.), Troia 1987–2012: Grabungen und Forschungen III. Troia VI bis Troia VII. Studia Troica Monographien 7, Bonn: Habelt, in preparation.