The skeleton of the last Trojan that lived during the Eastern Roman era has been found in archaeological excavations being carried out in the ancient city of Troy in the northwestern province of Çanakkale, shedding light on a history of 5,000 years.
The head of the excavations, Rüstem Aslan, said they also, for the first time, found a colored terracotta, known as the Dardanos Rider, and a fingerprint on it.
Excavations in the ancient city, which is visited by thousands of people from around the world every year, especially from Far Eastern countries, have been continuing this year with a team of 40 people, headed by Aslan, a professor at Çanakkale Onsekiz Mart University.
The skeleton of the last Trojan was found in a field which was used as a graveyard in the Eastern Roman period. The graveyard was also discovered during excavations ongoing in the southern gate and the Roman-era agora.
The Dardanos Rider, a kind of souvenir gifted or sold to people visiting Troy, was found on the skeleton. The red-colored artifact dates back 2,300 years, according to examinations.
Aslan said they came close to the end of this year’s excavations.
“The purpose of these excavations in the agora field was to understand the architectural findings other than the late Bronze Age. Particularly this year, we obtained some things that verify some previous findings. Two big earthquakes happened in Troy in 500 A.D. We know that Troy was abandoned for a few years after the quakes, and there was a settlement after the 11th century until the mid-13th century, which we call the Eastern Roman era. This field was used as a graveyard in this era. The skeleton we found in the graveyard is now being cleaned. We can say that it is the skeleton of the last Trojan who lived in mid-13th century. At the same time, we have archaeological data that the southern gate was a holy field in the Hellenistic era. We have found some terracotta artifacts in previous excavations in this holy field. This year we found one of them, too,” he added.
Aslan said the red-colored terracotta was found for the first time.
“This type of terracotta, which is called Dardanos Rider, is seen in the holy field in Troy. We found lots of them in the western holy field, Temple of Athens holy field and the southern gate. But for the first time this year, we found colored terracotta. One can clearly see a fingerprint on it. This artifact was a kind of souvenir given to the visitors of the ancient city of Troy in that era. It depicts a rider and reveals that the southern part was used as a holy field after the western field. We will make further studies in future excavations,” Aslan added.