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abstracts
At the Museums Volume 54 Number 4, July/August 2001
Dream to Reality
by Özgen Acar

Finds from the legendary land of Troy

When the nineteenth-century German entrepreneur-turned-archaeologist Heinrich Schliemann unearthed the first traces of the Bronze Age city of Troy in an eroded mound at Hissarlžk in northwestern Turkey, he brought to life the world of Homer's eighth-century B.C. epic, the Iliad. Well over a century after Schliemann's excavations, our knowledge of this ancient Anatolian city has been transformed by the work of architect Wilhelm Dörpfeld, who succeeded Schliemann; Carl Blegen of the University of Cincinnati, who excavated there in the 1930s; and Manfred Korfmann of Tübingen University together with the international team that renewed excavations there in 1988. The transformation in our understanding of ancient Troy from a legendary land of gods and heroes to a critical trading center of the Hittite Empire is the subject of Troia: Traum und Wirklichkeit (Troy: Dream and Reality), on display at the Forum of the Landesbank Baden-Würtemberg in Stuttgart.

Being exhibited are more than 800 artifacts--ceramics, bronze weapons and vessels, and pieces of precious gold and silver jewelry--300 of which have come from the most recent excavations at Troy. The exhibition aims to set the record straight on several issues, including the building sequence at the site and Troy's cultural place in the Bronze Age world. Many scholars had regarded Troy as an extension of the Greek and Myceneaen world, heavily influenced by its art and culture, but Korfmann's research has revealed a flourishing trade center firmly grounded in the culture of the Hittites, who ruled much of Anatolia during the second millennium B.C.

Information on the exhibition (in German) can be found on the web at: www.troia.de; an abbreviated text in English can be found at: www.uni-tuebingen.de/troia/eng/ausstellung.html.

Özgen Acar, former editor of the Cumhuriyet, covers archaeological and cultural heritage issues in Turkey.


Treasures from Ancient Syria
by Angela M.H. Schuster

For millennia, Syria functioned as a gateway through which passed the peoples and products of Egypt, Greece, Persia, and the Far East. Nearly 400 artifacts--stone statues, painted ceramic vases, delicate mosaics, gold jewelry, illuminated manuscripts, astronomical devices, and textiles--from this ancient cultural crossroads debut this summer in Syria: Land of Civilizations at the FirstUSA Riverfront Arts Center in Wilmington, Delaware. Highlights include an 1,800-year-old gold brooch inlaid with rubies, and a mosaic depicting Hercules as an infant strangling serpents. Sponsored by the Minister of Culture, Directorate General of Antiquities and Museums of the Syrian Arab Republic, and the Musée de la Civilisation de Québec, Syria: Land of Civilizations will be on view from July 14 through October 21. For more information, call (302) 425-3929.

Click here for ARCHAEOLOGY's list of current exhibitions.

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© 2001 by the Archaeological Institute of America
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