Digging For Troy: From Homer to Hisarlik


Jill Rubalcaba and Eric H. Cline recount the legend of the Trojan War and then dig into the archaeological evidence recovered from Hisarlik, the site believed by many to have once been Troy. The authors detail the scientific methods of the various archaeologists who excavated the ruins from the late 1800s through the present day.

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Jill Rubalcaba and Eric H. Cline recount the legend of the Trojan War and then dig into the archaeological evidence recovered from Hisarlik, the site believed by many to have once been Troy. The authors detail the scientific methods of the various archaeologists who excavated the ruins from the late 1800s through the present day.

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Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature - Denise Hartzler
Legend has told and retold a story of a war between the Greeks and the Trojans battling over a beauty named Helen. In Digging for Troy, Rubalcaba and Cline recount two riveting tales. One tale is the Trojan War as told by Homer in The Iliad and the other is the tale of the 100-year quest by archaeologists digging for the legendary ancient city. Rubalcaba is not so concerned with the story of the Trojan War, although she does retell the story as an introduction but remains focused on the history of the archaeological search for Troy, from Heinrich Schliemann in the 19th century through the various digs of the 20th century. There is serious sifting of fact from fiction, revealing information about ancient building techniques and settlements, spectacular finds, and a century of advances in archaeology. There is a lack of explanatory diagrams and whole-site photos that could be problematic for a children's nonfiction book. However, there are few books covering this topic for juveniles and Rubalcaba does do a great job of introducing this rich history into a small number of pages. Reviewer: Denise Hartzler
Kirkus Reviews

This useful but uneven volume summarizes the legend of the Trojan War, then describes the archaeological excavations at Hisarlik, the Turkish site believed to have been Troy. After a brief (though ponderous) introduction comes a graceful 20-page retelling of how, according to Homer, the Greeks fought at Troy. Elegant red-and-black illustrations every few pages echo Greek vases, part of the overall attractive book design. Readers must then switch gears for the final 35 pages, illustrated with a handful of photographs, which describe the main excavations, from Heinrich Schliemann in 1870 through several more scientific expeditions up to recent times. The authors, a writer and a classical scholar, review hypotheses about the site and occasionally weave in anecdotes, but the overall scheme is chronological and the writing straightforward, without the spark of Laura Amy Schlitz's biography, The Hero Schliemann (2006). However, readers may find the recap of The Iliad enjoyable and the rest, including a timeline and recommended websites, helpful for reports. Given the source material, it should be better. (bibliography, source notes, index) (Nonfiction. 11-14)

School Library Journal
Gr 6–9—Rubalcaba teams up with a noted archaeologist to make sense of the complicated, controversial, contradictory history and remains of the Turkish site called Hisarlik, better known as Troy. It has been intermittently occupied for almost 3500 years, from 2900 BCE to 550 CE, and is often thought to be the Troy written about by Homer in The Iliad. The book begins with a brief but exciting retelling of the Trojan War, giving readers a firsthand appreciation of why generations have been fascinated by this tale, and goes on to profile Heinrich Schliemann, the German businessman who spent a fortune ham-handedly digging up the site in the 19th century. After Schliemann, generations of archaeologists have excavated Hisarlik: along with the history of the excavations, readers are given an overview of technological developments in the field, from comparative dating using potsherds to noninvasive imaging. Competing theories and conclusions are objectively presented, with supporting diagrams, maps, and models. Source notes and an impressive bibliography attest to meticulous research and guide readers to journal articles, books, and online museum exhibits. Elegant illustrations mimicking Greek red-figure pottery are lovely and appropriate. Extraordinarily readable, gracefully laid out, and speckled with lines from The Iliad, this book will inspire young people interested in solving the mysteries of the past.—Paula Willey, Baltimore County Public Library, Towson, MD
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781580893268
  • Publisher: Charlesbridge Publishing, Inc.
  • Publication date: 2/1/2011
  • Pages: 71
  • Sales rank: 1,546,961
  • Age range: 9 - 12 Years
  • Lexile: 1080L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 7.80 (w) x 10.00 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Meet the Author

Jill Rubalcaba is the author of THE ANCIENT EGYPTIAN WORLD, co-written with Eric H. Cline, THE EARLY HUMAN WORLD, cowritten with Peter Robertshaw, and THE WADJET EYE. Jill lives in Middletown, Connecticut. Eric H. Cline serves as the chair of the department of Classical and Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations at George Washington University. He lives in Washington, DC.

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