Sunday, July 08, 2007

Ancient Discoveries: Siege of Troy

For three thousand years, the Siege of Troy has remained steeped in mystery. Historians have speculated over the true identity of Helen, the mysterious face said to have launched a thousand ships. Experts have also asked how the vast wooden ship of Troy was constructed. Most provocatively of all, some historians have suggested that the event may not have taken place at all.

In this groundbreaking new programme, we set to crack the riddles of Troy once and for all. Some of the world’s leading engineers, historians and archaeologists offer their expert opinions on this ancient mystery. Journeying to the site discovered by archaeologist Harold Schliemann in modern Turkey – the location many believe to be the real Troy - we analyse one of the world’s greatest historical battlegrounds for new evidence.

Using these 3000 year-old clues, we unlock the secrets of the wars that were fought there – from the armour and weaponry used, to how the ancient soldiers lived and died. In a dramatic bid to uncover new insights into Troy’s battlefield technology, world champion archer Mark Green fires arrows at Mycenaean armour and the huge shield believed to have been used by Achilles.

This program takes us behind the Troy celebrated by Hollywood to uncover fascinating evidence of events such as Achilles’ duel against Hector and the sailing of the vast Mycenaean fleet. Among many new insights, we discover that the ‘impregnable’ walls of Troy may have been shattered using chemical warfare and ancient super tanks inspired by siege-busting war machines of the Middle East.

Intertwined with the narrative of our modern day investigation into Troy, is the legendary story as told by Homer. As this story reaches its gripping conclusion, the programme shifts its focus to one incredible machine: the wooden ship of Troy. Combining evidence from ancient Greek art and Middle Eastern reliefs, we uncover a fascinating new theory: the sacred properties of horses in Trojan society may have caused them to open the siege gates, just as the epic poem tells. Three thousand years after this enrapturing tale was first told, this programme applies modern technology, archaeology and engineering to uncover the real story behind the legend of Troy.


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