Welcome to another Reel History Patreon Preview! You can find the full 1 hour bonus show at patreon.com/reelhistorypodcast, along with a dozen additional bonus shows, all available for merely 3 drachmas per month! This time we’re exploring the rediscovery of the ancient city of Troy by amateur archeologist/dynamite enthusiast Heinrich Schliemann. Forget about your modern-day archeology brushes and bring out the explosives, as this is a trip back in time to the 1800s.
Heinrich Schliemann (1822-1890) was like the Indiana Jones of his day, but somehow managing to take worse care of his findings than Indy and his antagonists. Schliemann wasn’t your average history buff – he was more like a wrecking ball, crashing through ancient sites with all the subtlety of a bull in a china shop. He made his fortune in business, then decided to blow it all up, literally, on his archaeological pursuits. First stop: Turkey. He’s convinced that Troy is real, so he goes full Rambo on this place called Hisarlik. Dynamite here, dynamite there, and voila! He’s got himself a “discovered” ancient city. The locals must’ve loved the fireworks show. You found a lot of shiny stuff, but at what cost, Heinrich?
Jokes aside – while Schliemann’s methods were about as subtle as a sledgehammer, and his interpretations mixed fact and ficiton frivolously, proper archeological methodology just didn’t exist at the time. The mistakes of Schliemann and his contemporaries is WHY we use those tiny brushes now; we learned from our mistakes. And despite all the critisism, his work helped raised interest in the classics, in archeology and (okay here’s another bad one) he may have popularised the swastika back in Germany? Oops?