February 11, 2003
FIFTEEN YEARS OF DIGGING
FOR THE TRUTH
Co-Director of the Troy
Excavation Project to Speak at Smith
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
NORTHAMPTON, Mass-For the past 15 years,
C. Brian Rose, a professor of classics at the University of Cincinnati,
has spent much of his time excavating the legendary city long
ago celebrated by Homer as "the strong-walled citadel of
As co-director of the Troy Excavation Project, a collaboration
between the University of Cincinnati and the University of Tuebingen
in Germany, Rose has been in charge of phase three of the world's
most famous archaeological dig.
Excavations at Troy were initiated in 1871 by the visionary German
archaeologist Heinrich Schliemann and restarted in the 1930s
by Rose's predecessor at the University of Cincinnati, Carl W.
Blegen. Rose resumed the dig where Blegen left off.
On Tuesday, Feb. 25, Rose will visit Smith College to speak on
"Homer and Troy: The Results of Fifteen Years of Excavations."
His talk, an open lecture for the class "Classics 190, The
Trojan War," will take place at 9 a.m. in the Neilson Library
The event is free and open to the public.
At 4 p.m. on the same day, Rose will present a second lecture,
Tombs Near Troy: Recent Discoveries," at UMass' Isenberg
School of Management, Room 137.
Situated in northwest Turkey a few miles from the Dardanelles
at the intersection of important ancient trade routes, Troy was
inhabited continuously from about 3500 B.C.E. to 1300 C.E.
As a result of the Troy Excavation Project, Rose and his team-contrary
to the opinions of some scholars-posit that Troy, in the late
Bronze Age, consisted of an upper citadel and a densely populated
lower city surrounded by a strong defensive wall. This configuration,
characteristic of other Anatolian capital cities, suggests that,
as a center of ancient trade, Troy looked east to Mesopotamia
as well as west to Greece.
Some scholars insist, however, that Homer's different descriptions
of Troy were accurate, says Justina Gregory, professor of classics
at Smith College, who helped coordinate Rose's visit to Smith.
Others believe Homer was a "weaver of fictions," she
says, "and that archaeology alone holds the key to the past."
"Neither poetry nor archaeology can lay exclusive claim
to the 'truth' about the late Bronze Age," says Gregory.
"Both are equally subject to interpretation and both are
needed if we hope to make sense of the past. Brian Rose's two
lectures promise to do just that."
Rose has also served on archaeological digs in the Aphrodisias
in Turkey from 1980 to 1984 and as an excavator with the Archaeological
Society of Italy at Cerveteri and Filadelfia in 1973. He has
published widely on the city of Troy in its various occupations
and on Byzantine research.
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