Projekt Troia 
Institut für Ur- und Frühgeschichte und Archäologie des Mittelalters, 
Universität Tübingen, DEU
Department of Classics, University of Cincinnati, USA
Controversy over Late Bronze Age Troia (Troia VI and VII)
Statements by Prof.Kolb in Interviews July 17 through July 26

    SYMPOSIUM 2002



    Under the title „Traumgebilde“ the German newspaper „Berliner Morgenpost“ on July 17, 2001 published an interview with Frank Kolb, Professor of Ancient History at the University of Tübingen. In this interview Prof. Kolb raises severe objections against the presentation of  the archaeological results of the current Late Bronze Age Troia VI / VII excavations in the exhibition which opened at Braunschweig on July 14. Further he charges his colleague Manfred Korfmann, Professor of Prehistory  at Tübingen, with overinterpretation of his excavation and with misleading the public. 

For the sake of English speaking visitors to our pages an attempt is made in the following to summarize Kolb´s statements even though it may be subject to errors and misquotes (when in doubt refer to the full text of the interview in German):

„Traumgebilde“ (Berliner Morgenpost, July 17, 2001):

........ In 1984 Prof. Kolb ( ed.: in his book: „Die Stadt im Altertum”.) has stated that Troia VI had been no city. Confronted with the exhibition-model of Troia VI as citadel plus a sizable lower city, he sees no reason for correction since, he claims, Korfmann has found „no indications for an extended structured settlement outside the citadel“. While the „model falsely shows solid houses“ the excavation revealed „only scattered wood / clay buildings and much free space. The model is a fiction: dream, not reconstruction.“ 

Kolb points out: Of the extended defense structures around the lower city which the model portrays, i.e. a ditch cut into the rock and a wall,  Korfmann has found a piece of wall about ten meters long and a ditch in the South „ with a wide gap in the middle“, which would have „constituted a highway for the chariots“ against which the ditch supposedly was constructed.

Furthermore there is no match between Homer´s description and the archaeological findings: we have to realise  „ that Homer´s Troia is not a historical settlement, which we can `find´, but a poetical creation“, „a fiction“.

Troia a turntable of commerce, the Troian War a fight for commercial power? „This is the bizzarest  of Korfmann´s fantasies. Finds from two thousand years are combined to prove the importance of Troia VI which lasted only for a few centuries. As an example: A ceremonial axe of lapis lazuli should serve as proof of trade between Central Asia and Homeric Troia VI. This axe, however, comes from a layer 500 years older. This method must be termed ahistoric.“   ........

Further interview-statements by Prof.Kolb:

Following above first interview with Prof.Kolb there were several follow-up interviews by other papers for which the full texts are not available but only quotes from the articles. Here are excerpts from two articles with translations of some of the quotes:

Schwäbisches Tagblatt („Dem Mythos Homers erlegen“, July 24):  ....The conviction of Korfmann and his team after campaigning on site since 1988, namely that Troia VI / VII was a capital with a citadel and a large lower city  is contrasted by Kolb: „Many archaeologists know, that Korfmann´s image of Troia is a fiction.“...... Troia no doubt was an important citadel with a princely seat in the period under debate (1700 to 1250 BC), according to Kolb, but of no more than regional importance. To portray Troia as a centre of trade and as a capital is a „completely absurd scenario“...... „Korfmann is consciously misleading the public“ says Kolb. Since the excavation results do not support Korfmann´s hypothesis he is mixing single finds from 2000 years together so that finally they result in his Troia-image: „Korfmann is a `Däniken´of Archaeology“, so Kolb .....

Stuttgarter Nachrichten („Korfmann wehrt sich“, July 26):......The Ancient Historian Frank Kolb on Wednesday confirmed his critique of Archaeologist Manfred Korfmann´s hypotheses : „His interpretations are simply incorrect.“.... Kolb emphasized: „Korfmann is fooling people“. .... Concerning Korfmann´s recent claim presently to excavate `house by house´ from period Troia VI ( ed.:in the lower city), Kolb says: „ He cannot prove ground plans of these houses, but he presents them in his publications“. Therefore Kolb sees no reason to withdraw his comparison „ Korfmann is the `Däniken´ of Archaeology“. Kolb´s balance: „Korfmann´s excavations are ok, technically. Also his findings with respect to chronology. But his interpretation is a fiction.“...... 

Link to the unabridged responding statement of Prof. Korfmann.

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Tübingen editor: Hans G. Jansen (email:
Cincinnati editor: John Wallrodt (email:

Date Last Modified: 01/Sep/01