Aegeus Society For Aegean Prehistory


1 June 2010

Trading implements in early Troy: In memoriam Professor Manfred Korfmann

A. Bobokhyan Anatolian Studies 59 (2009): 19-50.


The traditional view of Troy as a kind of central site presupposes balance weights and other artefacts that attest weighing procedures among the excavated material. Indeed, already in the works of Homer it is possible to find refer­ences to premonetary aspects (for example, the gold standard τάλαντον). The main purpose of this investigation is to provide an archaeological view on the issue of trading implements and their significance in early Troy. The principal group of objects defined as balance weights was unearthed during the excavations of Heinrich Schliemann. By contrast, very little data derive from Wilhelm Dörpfeld’s activities at the site. Balance weights are known also from the recent excavations of Manfred Korfmann. In two previous reports I presented the state of balance weights found in the Schliemann and Korfmann excavations. The aim of this article is to consider the main stages of the investigation of balance weights, with special reference to the excavations of Carl Biegen in Troy. The main problem related to the study of the Trojan balance weights is the lack of knowledge about the archaeological contexts for many of the finds. A considerable number of these implements has been lost or is inaccessible. However, their compilation assists in understanding the abstract way-of-thinking and value perception of the population of ancient Troy. The actual number of balance weights from Troy can be estimated at ca 100. The main period of their appearance is during Troy II-V, less in Troy VI. The principal forms represented are ellipsoid (‘sphendonoid’) and domed, and the materials used most for the weights are haematite as well as granite, basalt, marble and limestone. New research has revealed the existence of multiple weighing systems in Bronze Age Troy, a situation that was typical for mercantile centres such as Tepe Sialk, Susa or Kanes. The investigation of the Trojan balance weights and their contexts hints at the existence of Aegean and eastern Mediterranean, more precisely northern Syrian, directions of contacts.


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