Geologists delineate ancient harbor of Troy

November 07, 2001

Helen of Troy--the face that launched a thousand ships. In search of her, where did those Greek ships land in Troy? Scientists, joined by a Greek scholar, discovered where Troy's harbor might have been

"Studies of the three dimensional distribution of sedimentary facies and their enclosed fossils and radiocarbon dates allow us to form paleographic maps of the floodplains, swamps, marshes, lagoons, and shallow seas that partially surrounded ancient Troy (of the Iliad) over the past seven millennia," explained John C. Kraft, a geologist at the University of Delaware.

Kraft and his colleagues used the Iliad and the Geographies of Strabo, among other writings, to help them correlate their scientific findings and delineate the famous harbor. Kraft will present these findings on Wednesday, November 7, at the Geological Society of America's annual meeting, A Geo-Odyssey, in Boston, Massachusetts.

"My research interests are focused on the relations of archaeological and historical sites to changes in coastal geomorphologies over the past 10 millennia--mainly in coastal Greece, Turkey, and Delaware," Kraft said. "When our sedimentary facies are correlated with details of the writings of Strabo (circa 0 AD/BC), we can identify possible locales of the allied Greek fleet harbor and fortifications as well as the harbors of Troy and the later New Ilium (new Troy). Strabo provides both distances and details of coastal morphologies that are compatible with RC-14 dated coastal marine geometries determined by sedimentary analyses. Clearly, the product of historical and legendary writings of antiquity and (times) and our geological analyses of Holocene Epoch sedimentary environmental facies provide synergistic resultant ancient geographies."
Written by Kara LeBeau, GSA Staff Writer


During the GSA Annual Meeting, November 4-8, contact Ann Cairns or Christa Stratton at the GSA Newsroom in the Hynes Convention Center, Boston, Massachusetts, for assistance and to arrange for interviews: (617) 954-3214.

The abstract for this presentation is available at:

Post-meeting contact information:

John Kraft
Geology Department
University of Delaware
Newark, DE 19716
Phone: 302-831-8706
Fax: 302-831-4158

Ann Cairns
Director of Communications
Geological Society of America
Phone: 303-357-1056
Fax: 303-357-1074

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