Heinrich Schliemann

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Related to Heinrich Schliemann: Sir Arthur Evans

Schliemann, Heinrich

(hīn`rĭkh shlē`män), 1822–90, German archaeologist, discoverer of the ruins of TroyTroy,
ancient city made famous by Homer's account of the Trojan War. It is also called Ilion or, in Latin, Ilium. Its site is almost universally accepted as the mound now named Hissarlik, in Asian Turkey, c.4 mi (6.4 km) from the mouth of the Dardanelles.
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. He accumulated a fortune in the indigo trade and as a military contractor and retired from business in 1863 to dedicate himself to finding Troy and other Homeric sites. After several years of study and travel, in 1871 he undertook at his own expense excavations at Hissarlik that resulted in the discovery of four superimposed towns. Schliemann's research at Hissarlik represented the archaeological discovery of a Homeric civilization, previously considered by many experts to be legendary. Schliemann related every object he found to the verses of Homer, which he knew by heart. He made other notable excavations at Mycenae (1876–78), Ithaca (1878), Orchomenus, Boeotia (1881–82), and Tiryns (1884–85) and was assisted by Wilhelm Dörpfeld from 1882. His work in Greece demonstrated the existence of the previously unknown civilization of the Greek Bronze Age. Schliemann made two of the most spectacular discoveries in the history of archaeology, finding the "Treasure of Priam" at Hissarlik in 1873 (a trove that included two gold diadems, thousands of pieces of gold jewelry, bronze weapons, and silver and copper vessels) and an even larger treasure of gold, silver, and copper ornaments, masks, and swords at the Shaft Graves at Mycenae in 1876–77. The Treasure of Priam has always been controversial, as Schliemann's accounts of this discovery were inconsistent, and he smuggled the items out of Turkey. Schliemann's work, widely reported by the international press, captured the public imagination and dramatically revealed the great potential of archaeological research. Schliemann wrote several books describing his discoveries and an autobiography (published posthumously in 1892) and left a vast collection of personal papers and records, He acquired American citizenship because he was living in California when it became a state (1850).


See biographies by E. Ludwig (1931), R. Payne (1958), A. C. Brackman (1974), and D. A. Traill (1995); C. Schuchhardt, Schliemann's Excavations and Archaeological and Historical Studies (1977); S. H. Allen, Finding the Walls of Troy (1999).

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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Schliemann, Heinrich


Born Jan. 6, 1822, in Neubukow; died Dec. 26,1890, in Naples. German archaeologist.

Schliemann, who had amassed a vast fortune through trade, retired from business in 1863 and devoted himself to searching for the sites of places mentioned in the Homeric epics. In 1869 he suggested that the site of Troy was the mound of Hissarlik in Asia Minor. Excavations in 1870–73, 1878–79, 1882–83, and 1889–90 confirmed Schliemann’s hypothesis and proved that Homer’s epic had a sound, factual basis. Schliemann also carried out excavations in Mycenae (1876), on the island of Ithaca (1878), in Orchomenos (1880–81), and in Tiryns (1884–85). Largely selftaught, Schliemann made use of completely unorthodox methodology in his excavations and, despite the fact that he kept detailed diaries and published the results of his excavations, the scientific value of his works is not very great. Of particular importance, however, was Schliemann’s discovery of the “pre-Homeric” Aegean culture, studied scientifically by A. Evans after Schliemann’s death.


Mykenae. Leipzig, 1878.
Ilios . . . . Leipzig, 1881.
Orchomenos. Leipzig, 1881.
Troja. Leipzig, 1884.
Tiryns. Leipzig, 1886.
Heinrich Schleimann: Selbstbiographie, 8th ed. Wiesbaden, 1955.


Stoll, H. A. Shliman. Moscow, 1965. (Translated from German.)
The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
References in periodicals archive ?
* Indiana Jones-like archaeologist-adventurer Heinrich Schliemann in "The Hunt for Troy";
The archaeology of Heinrich Schliemann; an annotated bibliographic handlist, 2d ed.
Heinrich Schliemann, of course, found the remains of Troy in 1871, and archaeologists have been working since then to confirm his find.
Given the unreliability of the flamboyant Heinrich Schliemann and the sober reexamination of his extravagant claims of finding Priam's city, classicists long ago concluded that Troy VIIa was actually a sort of backwater--hardly the windy Ilium of Homer's hexameters.
Fakery is a key aspect of his new novel The Fall of Troy (2006) whose central character, Heinrich Obermann, is based on the real Heinrich Schliemann born into an impoverished north German village in 1822.
1) from shaft grave V at Mycenae is one of the most widely recognized icons of the Aegean Bronze Age, and it is almost universally believed that Heinrich Schliemann identified it as the "face of Agamemnon." (1) Any argument that it is a forgery planted clandestinely in the grave by Schliemann to be "discovered" during excavation is, therefore, surely of more than specialist importance.
Heinrich Schliemann,considered the founder of modern archaeology and who discovered the ancient city of Troy,died in 1890 from a brain abscess caused by an infection that developed following ear surgery,Dr Hinrich Staecker said in Baltimore,USA.
He added: 'It is virtually unknown for an object of such rarity and value to come onto the open market, giving an opportunity -probably only once in a lifetime chance -for a major private collector or a leading public institution to acquire an artefact virtually unknown outside museum collections.' He continued: 'The discovery of this gold cup can be paralleled with the celebrated gold of Troy, excavated by the German archaeologist Heinrich Schliemann in 1874.
o 1873 King Priam's treasure of 8,700 priceless pieces was discovered in Turkey Heinrich Schliemann. In disinterring it he destroyed what was left of Troy.
Although the buried cities of Pompeii and Herculaneum had been excavated over a century earlier, the nineteenth century witnessed a succession of important archaeological events, which appeared to lend historical credibility to what previously were thought to be myths or fictions: Karl Richard Lepsius's excavations at Meroe, Heinrich Schliemann's discovery of Troy, Sir Arthur Evans's finds at Knossos, and Karl Gottlieb Mauch's purported locating of King Solomon's Mines in Zimbabwe.