Wolf-Dietrich Niemeier

In the first half of the second millennium B.C., Minoans from Crete crossed the Aegean and colonized Miletus, which they controlled until the collapse of Minoan civilization around 1450 B.C. Niemeier’s team has found Minoan paintings, pottery, seals and clay vessels inscribed with the as-yet-undeciphered Linear A script (shown here).

From about 1400 to 1200 B.C. Mycenaeans from the Greek mainland controlled Miletus. Contemporaneous Hittite texts refer to a western Anatolian power called Milawanda, which was a vassal state of Ahhiyawa—which many scholars associate with “Achaea” (a word Homer uses to refer to the Mycenaean Greeks who invaded Troy). During the Late Bronze Age, according to Niemeier, Miletus/Milawanda was a vassal of Achaea/Ahhiyawa, which lay on the Greek mainland—and Troy/Wilusa was a vassal of the Hittite Empire.