Heinrich Schliemann is undoubtedly one of the forefront leaders in ancient Greek archaeology. His discoveries are widely discussed and admired as some of the most impressive artifacts ever found. He was a pioneer of archaeology, and visionary into the ancient Greek Bronze Age. His work went on to seed many future endeavors in archaeology around the world.
The real question is how much impact should his findings have, if their authenticity can be so well debated? The negative impacts of Schliemann’s work seem all-encompassing, such as the destruction of possible archaeological sites in his quest-excavation at Hisalrik, and the inconsistencies of his findings at Mycenae. Schliemann’s hasty excavations were extremely destructive, and his actions often denoted a treasure hunter, not a sincere archaeologist. His grandiose claims were often impassioned, yet misguided. He played up the press and glamorized his finds, which calls into question his real motives.
Overall, yes, we do know that Schliemann did certainly lie about certain aspects of his digs and was disrespectful to the process of properly investigating the ancient Greek past, and because of this, it is tough for historians to come to a consensus on whether or not he fabricated his claims and the significance of them. All we can go on, however; is what we know for certain. We know for certain, that these artifacts represent a wealth of connection to the past, given that not much remains of the ancient world. And even though there are inconsistencies in details of the finds, it must be said that great discoveries don’t point directly to great lies. Schliemann just made it so hard for scholars and historians to believe in his work with how sketchy his actions were at times, and how eager he was in his self-promotion. Schliemann’s legacy and the impact he left behind differs between historians, but above all he was a revolutionary in terms of Greek archaeology.
Damen, Mark. “Heinrich Schliemann and Troy.” USU (2015).
Easton, D. F. The Classical World. Vol. 91, No 5.(1998).
Harrington, Spencer PM. “Behind the Mask of Agamemnon.” Archaeology Vol 52 no 4. (1999).
Lovgren, Stefan. “Is Troy True?” National Geographic (2004).
Wilson, Colin. World’s Greatest True Crime. p398-401.(2004).
Payne, R. “The gold of Troy: The story of Heinrich Schliemann and the buried cities of ancient Greece.” (1958).
Fitton, J. (1995). “The discovery of the Greek Bronze Age.” London: British Museum Press. (1995)