Photo by Hartmut Schickert.

Do Homer’s songs of “mighty-walled Troy” preserve memories of structures like this one—the massive east gate of the Late Bronze Age city of Troy? Settled about the beginning of the third millennium B.C., this site, in northwest Anatolia, contains nine occupation levels, showing that it was inhabited continually for more than 3,500 years. The most splendid level is Late Bronze Age Troy VI (1700–1250/30 B.C.), whose towering walls (shown in the photo) protected a citadel that looked over a large residential city. Troy VI—which may be associated with Homer’s Troy, because of its prosperity and impressive fortifications—fell into decline in the last decades of the 13th century B.C. Then, in 1180 B.C., the city was attacked and nearly completely destroyed by fire. Perhaps Homer’s Trojan War preserves a distant memory of those events.