Legends of the Lost with Megan Fox (2018): Season 1, Episode 4 - The Trojan War: Myth or Truth? - full transcript

Megan travels to Turkey to investigate whether the Trojan War was a real historical event or just something the ancient Greek poet Homer made up.

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The year is 1200 BC.

On the coast
of modern-day Turkey,

1,000 Greek ships lay siege
to the city of Troy.

For 10 years, the battle rages,

until the most cunning deception
in history

helps the Greeks win the war.

We've been told
that the Battle of Troy,

as recorded in Homer's "Iliad,"

is the greatest piece
of fiction ever written.

But did it actually happen?

New archaeological evidence
has begun to blur the line

between myth and reality
like never before.

I think
the Trojan War happened,

and I think
all of this supports it.

That's exciting.

I'll hunt down the most
legendary heroes...

What you see in front of you
is the tomb of Achilles.

...and gain special access
to one of the greatest

archaeological finds
of the modern age...

It's 3,500 years old?

I'll hold it like it was
my newborn baby.

...to find out if the greatest
Greek myth ever told...

Troy would have been a lot
like the D-Day of World War II.

...was not really
a myth at all.

There should be
something to find.

All across the world,
our ancient ancestors

left behind towering mysteries
and enchanting myths.

That looks
like a magic wand.

As an actress, I've been lucky
enough to peek

behind the curtain at some
of these ancient sites...

I've never been
in a crypt before.

...and it's ignited
an insatiable curiosity in me

to know more about
these lost worlds...

It's amazing that, under our
feet, there's so much history.

...some of which are still
buried deep in our distant past.

That is amazing!

The only thing I ever
loved in school

was studying Greek mythology,
so I have to experience it.

I'm on the picturesque waters
of the Aegean Sea,

headed to an island off
the northwest coast of Turkey.

3,000 years ago,

this area could have
been the backdrop

for the greatest Greek myth
of all time -- the Trojan War,

where powerful gods and men
clashed like titans.

Most people view the story
of the Trojan War as fantasy.

Maybe some of it was written
in a more romantic way,

but I think there were
historical facts

included in that.

Set around 1200 BC,
this mythical war took place

between an attacking Greek force
from southern Greece

and the Trojans who ruled
the northwest coast

of modern-day Turkey.

The first written account
of this conflict

comes 400 years later in
Homer's epic poem "The Iliad,"

and recently,
incredible new artifacts

have been
discovered in this area

that suggest this epic war
could have been real.

Stories that are in the Bible
are equally as fantastical,

but they found
the Walls of Jericho.

That is a real location,

and there was a real wall
that fell.

So a lot of these stories

do contain legitimate
historical information,

and I don't know why people are
so hesitant to embrace that.

Could the pages of "The Iliad"
be a treasure map

leading us
to the truth of the Trojan War,

or is it just
a fantastical work of fiction?

To find out, I'm on the island
of Bozcaada

to meet a local legend.

- Hi.
- Hello!

- Nice to have you.
- How are you?

- Good to see you.
- Good. How are you?

You look like
a gentleman today.

I like your
white trousers.

Thank you very much.

Dr. Haluk Sahin is a well-known
Turkish journalist

and professor
who has spent

over 2 decades deciphering
the secrets of "The Iliad."

What was the catalyst
for the Trojan War?

Well, the face that
launched 1,000 ships,

the beautiful face
of Helen, the queen.

According to Homer, the
Trojan War began after Paris,

a Trojan prince, abducted
the most beautiful woman

in the ancient world --

the Greek queen, Helen,
took her back to Troy,

a heavily fortified city known
throughout the ancient world

as being impenetrable.

In response, the Greeks sent
a dream team of heroes

including the mighty Achilles,
Ajax, and the cunning Odysseus,

plus thousands of elite soldiers
to recover Helen

and to destroy the city.

Is this island written about
in "The Iliad"?

Yes, Bozcaada, known as Tenedos
in ancient times,

played a very important role in
the Trojan War for the Greeks.

After they left the Trojan horse
in front of the city,

they hid their ships
behind the island,

waiting for a signal.

According to legend,
after years of failing

to take the city of Troy,

the Greeks deployed one of
the most cunning battle tactics

of all time...

the Trojan horse.

While pretending to retreat

and hiding their ships
behind the island that I'm on,

the infamous Trojan horse was
gifted to the people of Troy.

This massive wooden peace
offering with Greek soldiers

inside gained them access
inside the city gates.

The Greek soldiers then
unleashed an ambush attack,

and the city of Troy fell.

Goztepe is right up there.

It's the highest point
on the island.

Using the words of Homer,

Haluk is going to try
and pinpoint for me

exactly where this war
would have played out.

Here we are.

Okay, this is our island,
the island of Bozcaada,

known as Tenedos
in ancient times,

and Homer talks about Troy
being across from Tenedos,

and here we are.

See some of the white buildings
over there?

That's Troy.
- So cool, wow.

And if we go this way,
there is Mount Ida,

and gods Zeus and Hera came to
watch the war from Mount Ida.

About 70 miles to the southeast
of Troy is Mount Ida

where, according to Homer,

gods came to watch
the epic war unfold.

You can say, like,
"Look, we're standing here."

Homer described all of this.

He was familiar
with the geography.

He could have traveled here
and seen it,

but there's still a lot more
dots that have to be connected.

Did Homer simply reference
recognizable landmarks

to make this mythical story
sound more authentic,

or was he reporting
on real events?

To find out, I'm headed
to the Turkish mainland,

where the ruins of the ancient
city of Troy are believed to be.

Three miles from the Aegean Sea

are 4,000-year-old ruins,
first discovered in 1870.

Could these crumbling walls
and massive foundations

really be the mighty city
at the center of Homer's legend?

Let me just climb
over this mountain here.

How are you?
- Brian Rose.

- Megan. Nice to meet you.
- Good to meet you.

I'm joined by world-renowned
archaeologist Brian Rose,

who has dedicated
25 years to this site,

and he literally wrote
the book on it.

The geographical references
to the site of Troy

in "The Iliad"
only match this one,

but there are a lot of mysteries
that still surround the site.

Although these ruins have been
studied for nearly 200 years,

no archaeologist has been
able to definitively prove

whether or not
this is Homer's Troy

because it's one
of the most complicated

archaeological sites
in the world.

One of the reasons it's hard
to understand the site

is that occupation here
lasted for 4,500 years.

Do you just mean different
people lived here?

- Yeah.
- Okay.

Different people lived here,
starting around 3000 BC,

going to about 1500 AD,

and so we have these layers
of different settlements.

So how many cultures
or people have lived here,

like, if you cut a cake open,
you can count the layers?

Right, so we would say that
there are nine layers,

one built
on top of the other.

For thousands of years,
this city was built

and rebuilt on top of itself,

creating a quagmire
of walls and roads.

Through painstaking

and high-tech digital

archaeologists have been able
to reconstruct the layers.

The first dates to 3000 BC.

That's 500 years before
Egypt's pyramids were built.

The next layer, city 2,
is from 2400 BC,

right around the time
when the pyramids

were believed to be completed.

All in all, evidence of nine
completely different cities

can be found on the site,
one on top of the other.

Because of these layers,

the city is incredibly
difficult to understand,

but Troy VI, which is roughly
between 1800 and 1300 BC,

that's about late Bronze Age,
and that's the phase

that a lot of people associate
with the Troy of Homer.

Can you explain why we believe
that it's in the sixth strata?

Because the fortification walls
were incredibly strong,

5 meters thick,
over 10 meters high,

that we can understand
in accordance with the strength

that Homer described
the city as having had.

Homer said the walls of Troy
were so strong

that they looked like they were
built by the god Poseidon.

Here, at level 6, the walls
are more than 32 feet tall

and 16 feet wide,

as thick as the Great Wall
of China and 10 feet taller.

But Homer also described Troy
as being a mighty city

with tens of thousands
of people,

and all in all, level 6
is only 650 feet across.

Is this really
the great city of Troy?

The way it's described,

I would've imagined
it being larger.

You're exactly right, but,
with remote sensing,

we've been able to show

that there was an enormous
residential district

to the southwest
and east of the city

that we call
the Lower City.

That's where people lived,
and so I can point that out.


So the one thing to watch out
for are the centipedes.

They won't kill you,

but they are poisonous
when they sting you,

and down there, there
are a number of snakes.

The small ones are more
poisonous than the...

Brian, are you
**** with me?

I'm telling you
the truth.

Here is civilization,
just ahead of us.


So as we look out
on the horizon,

the residential district
would've extended

beyond that line of trees
that you see in the distance.

The population may conceivably
have reached

something like 10,000 people,

which is phenomenal
for that period.

- Yeah.
- So this was a mighty city.

That's so cool.

After having him confirm
there are some parallels

between the evidence and the
things that they've found here

with "The Iliad,"
for me, that opens the door to,

"There has to be other clues."

I believe that the city of Troy
was real,

but what about
the Trojan War itself?

There has to be other dots
to connect.


And the truth could be hidden
in one of the greatest

archaeological finds
of the modern age.

Wow, and it's
3,500 years old?

We've been taught that
the Trojan War,

immortalized in Homer's "Iliad,"
was just a legend

from one of the greatest
works of fiction ever written,

but I'm on a journey to find out
if this mythical war was real.

- How are you?
- Good to meet you in person.

I'm Eric.
- Good to see you.

How are you?
- Yes, welcome.

Dr. Eric Cline
might have the answers.

He's spent his career
studying little-known texts

from the ancient world.

The Trojan War is why I got
into archaeology.

- Yeah.
- When I was 7,

my mother gave me a book,
and I told my parents,

"I'm going to be
an archaeologist,"

so this is, like, near
and dear to my heart.

Eric's research has focused

on a mysterious
ancient civilization

known as the Hittites
that could be the key

to proving that
the Trojan War was real.

The Hittites, they do
connect to Troy, and...

I don't know much
about the Hittites

at all,
honestly, so...

Well, you would have been
in good company 200 years ago

because they were
completely lost to history.

Were they?

Yeah, we only just found them
in, like, the late 1800s.

For centuries,
the Bible's Old Testament

was the only source
that mentioned

the mysterious Hittite people,

but modern archaeology
has revealed that the Hittites

were actually a major player
in the ancient world.

Between 1700 and 1200 BC,

the time that the Trojan War
would have been happening,

the Hittites controlled
massive swathes of land

from the western coast of Turkey
to Syria and Lebanon.

The Hittites are part of
what I call

the G8 of the ancient world.
- Okay.

The Hittite Empire
was basically everything

that's in red on this map,

and then the capital city
is right here, Hattusa,

and Troy is over here.

But the true power
of the Hittites

was not the land
they conquered.

It was the precious ancient
knowledge that they left behind.

The connections that we've got
to Troy come from Hattusa.

The archaeologists
started excavating in 1906.

A year later,
they hit the archives.

They hit
all of the tablets.

During excavations near the
location of the Hittite capital,

archaeologists uncovered
a massive

cache of over 25,000 clay

containing everything from
the oldest-known peace treaty

from 1258 BC
to intimate military records.

Once they were able
to read Hittite,

which happened
within 5 or 6 years or so,

they realized
this was a treasure trove.

Within that
period of time,

they found tablets
mentioning things like Troy.

In the Hittite text, there is
a place they call Wilusa.

Wilusa is the Hittite
name for Troy

because the original name
for Troy was Wilios.

Doesn't Wilios sound a lot
like Wilusa?

- Yeah.
- Yeah, so I kind of go, ""

Now, let me add something else
into the equation here,

and this is where
the Trojan War comes in.

In the Hittite records,

some of the tablets
that deal with Wilusa and Troy

also talked about the Greeks,
and they talked about wars

involving the Greeks
and the Trojans, and...

- That's exciting.
- Isn't it?

- Yeah.
- I know. I know.

Now, where it gets even
more interesting --

There is a treaty between
one of the Hittite kings

with a guy
named Alaksandu of Wilusa.

So we already said another
name for Troy is Wilios.


Paris, as in Paris
and Helen and all that,

there's another name
for Paris, right?

His name is Alexander.

Paris, the son
of the king of Troy,

who Homer said abducted
the Greek queen Helen

and ignited the Trojan War,

was also given the name
Alexander as a child.

Let's see if I can
diagram this for you.

We've got Paris, right?

Alternate name for him
is Alexander.

We've also got Troy.

Alternate name for that
is Wilios.

So if you've got Alexander
of Wilios from Homer,

and you've got
Alaksandu of Wilusa,

on the other hand,
from the Hittites...

I like Occam's razor --

"The simplest solution
is probably the most correct."

I think that might be
the same guy.


I mean, I don't know how
you could argue against it.

If Paris is just a fictional
character concocted by Homer,

how is he mentioned
by the Hittites' writings

over 500 years
before Homer was even born?

How significant was
finding those tablets?

This gave us the keys
to the kingdom.

It's as good as it gets
without actually finding

a tablet that says,
"PS, the Trojan War happened."


These Hittite tablets
are one of the greatest

archaeological hauls in history,
and because of that,

they are kept under strict lock
and key in Istanbul, Turkey.

No one outside of the Turkish
archaeological community

is allowed access.

I know it's almost impossible --

It's nearly impossible
to see one of these,

but I'm going to go.

After days of phone calls
and working back channels,

I've managed to get access
to see one of these tablets

housed at the
Istanbul Archaeological Museum.


Thank you.

I'm joined by museum archivist
Veysel Donbaz,

one of the world's
leading experts

in dead ancient languages.

Alexander's tablet.

And it's 3,500 years old?

I would love to touch
the tablet.

I'll hold it like it was
my newborn baby.

It's really heavy, wow.


The Alaksandu that's mentioned
in this tablet,

that's also another name
for Alexander,

which was also
another name for Paris,

who was the son
of the king of Troy.

By reading these tablets,
we have further proof

and further confirmation
that the Homeric Troy was real.

And if Alexander was real,

what other heroes of this
epic tale could be real, too?

- Are we going up there?
- Yes. Yes!

I've discovered that the city
of Troy existed, and Paris,

the Trojan prince who was said
to have stolen Helen

and ignited this
10-year Trojan War,

was likely a real person, too.

I want to know,
what was the truth,

if there ever was a truth
to begin with?

Now I'm on the hunt to see
what other key figures

from this myth
could also be real.

The story, this really
important story,

is an all-consuming

To find out,
I'm with Dr. Naoise Mac Sweeney,

a historian
whose groundbreaking research

on ancient Greek mythology

is changing the way
that we look at the past.

Let me just
get over this hill.

You should be able to see
Besik Bay.

Just miles from the city of Troy

is a stretch of beach
known as Besik Bay,

where the Greek army is said

to have set up
their camp during the war.

What you see in front
of you is Besik Bay,

which really fits nicely
with the Homeric description

of the landscape
of the Greek camp

and crucially,
the camp of Achilles.

The key to uncovering the truth
about the Trojan War

could be with one of the Greek's
greatest heroes --

Achilles, a fearsome half-man,
half-god warrior

who slays Trojans
by the dozens.

"The Iliad" is the story
of the wrath of Achilles,

and then there's passages
within "The Iliad"

which give us a sense
of the location

of where
Achilles might have been.

Specific enough
where you go,

"This must be the place
because this is the only place

that matches exactly what
he wrote in this passage"?

Pretty much, right?

Okay, so here we've got
a little passage of "Book II"

of "The Iliad,"
and here we can say,

so, Achilles,
he's down by the beach.

So we've got his horses
and the chariots.

They are tethered, and
the horses are grazing on...

And he's very specific
about this.

The horses are eating this
really particular type

of clover, which is
fed on freshwater marshes,

and that fits this landscape
because just over there,

we've got a freshwater stream,
which runs down,

and it's one of the few
places along the coast

which kind of has
that kind of combination.

So it's really like piecing
together the jigsaw pieces.

Ten years into the war,

after slaughtering
hundreds of Trojan soldiers,

Achilles is ultimately
killed by Paris,

the Trojan prince who
strikes him in the heel

with a poison arrow.

For thousands of years,

people have come to this area
in search of Achilles' tomb

because clues provided by Homer
suggest his final resting spot

is just a few hundred yards
from here

under a mound called Sivri Tepe.

So that black circle
there is Sivri Tepe,

what we think is
the tomb of Achilles.

- Are we going up there?
- Yes. Yes!

Certainly in antiquity because
they thought

there was an Achilles.
They thought there was a tomb,

and I'm pretty sure
they thought it was here.

Did Homer say, "It's a thousand
paces past a certain landmark,"

and then that's how we
end up with that?

Something close.

Actually, it's towards
the end of "The Iliad."

Achilles' best friend,
and actually, we think,

his lover, Patroclus,
dies in battle.

Achilles is grieving,
and what he does is,

he buries his lover here,

and what Achilles requests
is that, when he dies,

he's buried in the same
mound as Patroclus.

In fact, actually, the ghost
of Patroclus

comes back
to talk to Achilles,

and he says, "Don't let us
be separated in death.

We weren't
separated in life.

Let's not be
separated in death."

The belief that Achilles
was buried at this mound

was so strong
that even one of the most famous

and powerful kings
of the ancient world

came here to pay his respects.

Alexander the Great
comes to visit, right?

He thinks it's Achilles' tomb,
so then they start to...

You know, they have a whole
bunch of ceremonies around it.

He and his lover, Hephaestion,

they kind of celebrate
Achilles and Patroclus

as kind of...
as parallels for themselves.

When he leaves, in the years
that follow,

they start building
the mound higher,

so they actually
raised the mound

another kind of 12 meters or so.

It's like a tourist destination,

So Alexander is
the first tourist

to come to pay
homage to Achilles.

How many times
has it been excavated?

Do you know?

So it's never been
fully excavated,

but we've had a couple of slices
kind of cut out of it,

enough to know
what's going on.

Is that a burial mound?

- No, right?
- Okay.

We know now,
through excavations,

that it's
a settlement mound.

That's where basically
people lived.

Although Achilles
isn't buried here,

the obsession to find him didn't
end with Alexander the Great.

Over the centuries,
Roman emperors,

powerful sultans
and amateur explorers

have all made the pilgrimage
to this area,

looking for
the lost tomb of Achilles.

Are there any burial mounds
that haven't been excavated?


There's really just a whole
landscape full of mounds

associated with
the tomb of Achilles.

Why are there so many
potential tombs for him?

Different people want to claim
a link with the Homeric past

because it's such
a powerful shared past.

We, as a society,
still care about it.

If we can find Achilles' final
resting place,

it would be one of
the most powerful pieces

of physical evidence to suggest

that the Trojan War
actually happened,

and it could mean
that there might be truth

in other Greek gods
and legends.

The problem is there are burial
mounds all over this landscape.

So based on the descriptions
that Homer gave in "The Iliad,"

where should we look?

Tell you what,
I'll show you instead.

Around here.


The thing that's really worth
seeing from here

is across the bay, so...

All the way down there,
at the end.


Up to the north,
the least-explored plateau.

So that's
virgin over there.

That hasn't been...
- Yeah.

We can go for it.

There should be
something to find.

So that's virgin over there.
That hasn't been...

We can go for it.

There should be
something to find.

Just miles from
the ancient city of Troy,

with the help of historian
Naoise Mac Sweeney,

we have zeroed in
on an area of Turkish coastline

that she believes
could be teeming

with unexplored
burial mounds,

and one of them could be
the tomb of Achilles,

the greatest hero
of the Trojan War.

How are you?


But with 40 square miles of land
in our search area

and Achilles' tomb
likely hidden below ground,

we'll need some help
to try and find him.

Aerial survey engineer Mehmet
is armed

with a state-of-the-art
mapping drone.

It captures tens of thousands
of high-res images

and then uses software
to piece them together

to create
a 3-D map of the landscape

that can reveal anomalies that
the naked eye could never find.

If you want to find
other mounds, right, we know

that there are some up the ridge
here and a bit further north.

That's something
that you can do...

Yes, we can do,

Are you going to show me
how to put it up?

Of course.

Three times...


Hey, I did it, you guys!
- Well done.

Another milestone.

It will take several hours
for the drone

to finish its flight path

and then a week
to analyze the data.

So while I wait, I'm headed
to investigate

rarely seen artifacts
that could be the key to proving

that the Trojan War
really happened.

I'm joined by Resit Berker,
my local fixer and translator.

Growing up in Turkey,
he has been obsessed

by the legends of Troy
from an early age.

We're heading to the Canakkale
Archaeological Museum,

located 16 miles
north of the site

which may have been
Homer's Troy,

to see some of
the rarest artifacts

discovered in the ruins
of that ancient city.

Head Archaeologist Rustem Aslan

has been studying
the ruins of Troy since 1988,

searching for evidence
of the Trojan War,

and he may have
finally found it.

These arrowheads are not

only consistent with the type
of weapons used by the Greeks

but also date
to around 1200 BC,

right when the Trojan War
would have been unfolding.

So these were being shot
by the enemy at the Trojan wall?

And that's exciting for you
because you know that,

in the story,
a lot of the battles took place

right out front
of the West Gate.

So when you discover arrowheads,
that confirms that.

So then you're like, "It's
exactly as the story said,

in the exact place."

Hector was the most
powerful Trojan warrior

and defended his city
to the death.

As the Greeks stormed
the Western Gate,

Hector fought Achilles

and these arrowheads
could've been used

in that very battle
3,000 years ago.

Why is there no real
written record of the Trojans?

Why are they still
so mysterious?

I'm one of the few people

to see this rare piece
of writing

that was pulled
from the ruins of Troy.

This 3,000-year-old bronze seal

is written in
Luwian hieroglyphs,

a mysterious language spoken
in parts of ancient Turkey.

Do you know what it says?


Was it carried as, like,
a talisman?


This seal would have acted
like an ancient passport,

allowing this foreign messenger
into the city of Troy.

- With gloves?
- And touch it.

You haven't touched it yet?

Well, you should
touch it before me.


It's so cool.


- You should touch it now.
- Yes.

It's heavy, and, I mean,
it feels like

I shouldn't be
touching it, obviously.

It feels like I shouldn't
be able to do that.

Why is that the most significant
find in the last 50 years?

This bronze seal means
Greeks and Trojans

weren't the only people swept up
in this decade-long conflict.

What mysterious kingdom could
this messenger have belonged to,

and why were they
a part of the war?

Well, it seems like it was
a battle

that was part of
a much larger one.



The story of this Trojan War
just got a whole lot bigger.

The key to uncovering
whether the Trojan War was real

could lie
in a mysterious bronze seal

found in the ruins of Troy from
the time of that infamous war.

This is the only written record
ever discovered in that city,

written in an ancient
and mysterious language

called Luwian.

I actually got to see and hold
in my hand the Luwian seal.

- Yes.
- And so who were the Luwians,

and how did that seal
end up in Troy?

Yeah, I've been digging
into this for best part

of 4 or 5 years
myself now,

and I had exactly
the same question.

Dr. Colin Barras is a well-known
academic journalist

who studies emerging
archaeological theories

about the ancient world.

That Luwian seal actually
might be a key

to understanding
a much bigger story.

Exactly who those Luwians are
is a bit controversial.

In what we now consider
western Turkey, we have,

at this point, a whole bunch
of small isolated kingdoms,

and one guy in particular
I talked to,

Professor Eberhard Zangger,

he would argue that,

those kingdoms have this
shared cultural identity.

He would call that
a Luwian civilization,

and Troy itself
is actually...

As well as being the site of
the Trojans, it's a Luwian town.

It's part of a Luwian kingdom.

When we try to answer
the question of,

"Well, who are the Trojans?"
the Trojans were Luwians.

That's why the Luwian seal is
there because it belonged there.

That was the Luwian kingdom,

and the Trojans
were a part of that.

So according to this theory,
during the 13th century BC,

the time of the Trojan War,

this area of the world was split
into three major powers --

the Luwians, occupying
most of modern-day Turkey,

including Troy; the Greeks,
also known as the Mycenaeans;

and the Hittites to the east.

And this is where we really
have to go, like, much grander.

These Luwian kingdoms decide
they want

to increase their territory,

gain more wealth,
gain more power,

and one of their first moves
is against their neighbors,

the Hittites.

The Luwians defeat the Hittites

and take over
their large area of land,

becoming an even more
powerful force,

and the fear was that
they wouldn't stop there.

So at the point that war is
breaking out, we can argue

that there were really two
major superpowers, if you will,

in the region at this time --
the Mycenaeans and the Luwians,

and the Mycenaeans decide
that they might well

be next on the hit list.

They sail across the sea,

begin attacking the Luwians
in their own territory,

including, most famously,
Troy itself.

Well, it seems like it was
a battle

that was part of
a much larger one.


So no longer are we seeing Troy
as an isolated battle.

Maybe it was actually a skirmish
in a much broader war

that was being fought on
multiple fronts, World War Zero.


That's so cool.

So in that scenario,
Troy would have been a lot

like the D-Day
of World War II.

In essence, yeah.

Up until this point
in the investigation,

it's only been
about the Trojan War,

that Troy could've just been
a smaller battle

that was a part
of this huge war.

This is something
that is revolutionary.

If what was going on at Troy was
part of something much larger,

what we would consider
a World War Zero,

why do you think we have
only Homer's retelling?

What's going on there?

What happened after this
World War Zero scenario is,

basically, there's a collapse
across the entire region.

Civilizations are falling,

and archaeologists
would call this episode

the Bronze Age Collapse,

and it's one of
the most dramatic events

in the entire history
of this region.

So we're really talking
about the Dark Age.

They're losing their ability

to keep very accurate
written records.

A hundred years after the
Trojan War would've happened,

the entire world is plunged
into the Dark Ages...

...where language
and written records are lost,

and only oral tradition
keeps history alive.

After this dark period ends,

Homer rises to prominence
and writes "The Iliad."

Was Homer a keeper
of this ancient knowledge,

and that's why he's the first
and only person to commit

this epic history
to written record?

This, I think, seems probable

because you have someone
hundreds of years later

writing this epic poem
about it.

It had to be...

There had to be more because
like you said, and you noted,

Troy was such a small town.

So what was it about that
that was so impactful

and the whole idea that,
in "The Iliad," you know,

all of the gods are involved
in what's going on,

and that does speak
to something.

It was worldwide.

There was a great amount
of people

being affected by this thing,

by this fight and this battle
that was going on.

So, for me, this resonates
with me

and makes a lot of sense,
and it's pretty groundbreaking.

Not only is it more
and more likely

that the Trojan War was real,

but that it was part of an even
larger sequence of events

that changed the whole world.

The key to determining
whether the Trojan War

was real could lie

in a never-before-explored
swath of land

surrounding the ancient city
of Troy,

which myth and legends say
is the final resting spot

of the infamous
Greek warrior Achilles.

You want to find other mounds,

We know that there are some up
the ridge here

and a bit further north.

A week ago, we deployed a
state-of-the-art survey drone

to scan this area

where dozens of unexamined
burial mounds still lie.

Could one of them hold
the remains

of a 3,000-year-old
half-man, half-god?

- Hello.
- Hey.

- How are you?
- How's it going?

The results are in.

All right. I'm ready
to see what you have.

Yeah, we got
some data for you.

I'm meeting with Eric Agnello
and Kory Kellum

of Phoenix LiDAR
in Culver City, California.

They're experts at analyzing
survey data for clues

of what lies below
the Earth's surface.

We wanted to take a look
at the mounds

and see if there were
any anomalies

or what we could see

that could give us
more information about Achilles.

We were able to make
a 3-D representation

of most of the terrain.

And definitely, I think,

the most interesting thing
here is this mound here.

Clearly very uniform,
it's very even.

If we go to the backside,

what you can't see
with the naked eye,

and you can see
from the data set,

is what appears to be
kind of a shelving here.

It's hidden by the
vegetation that's there,

but if you pull a good
cross section,

you can see that we do
have one area here

where there definitely
is some kind of a shelf.

To me, that's an obvious

What would that be?

My first thought would
be that there was

some kind of an entry point
to whatever is underneath.

This strange shelf-like anomaly

jutting out
from the burial mound

is consistent with the work
of ancient Greeks.

Throughout antiquity, Greeks
buried their most important

heroes in beehive-shaped tombs.

They were often equipped
with entrances that,

when viewed from the side,
stuck out like large shelves.

We can do a width on that...
whatever that shelf is.

The opening is 20 feet, about
the width of a two-car garage.

It would've required
a lot of manpower

to put something
like this there.

It's obvious that that
was regarded

as some sort of
an important site.

We don't know what they were
using it for,

and until we're able to go there
and excavate and explore,

it's, you know, anybody's guess.

Given the disturbance on
the backside that we looked at,

this was put there
for a significant purpose.

Okay, so Achilles
could be there.

- Yeah. This is important.
- Or anybody could be there.

I do believe Achilles existed,

and I do believe that he was
buried in that region somewhere.

In the last several decades,
archaeological discoveries

have proven
that the mythical city of Troy,

that Homer described
in his epic poem "The Iliad"

nearly 3,000 years ago,
was real.

We've been able to show
that this was a mighty city.

And a great battle took place.

So these were being shot
by the enemy at the Trojan wall.


Each new discovery refocuses
our view on the Trojan War

and suggests that
this ancient work of fiction

may actually be a window
into the past,

so if Achilles did slay
the great Hector,

and the Trojan horse
was the key to a Greek victory,

what other myths
of the ancient world

that we've written off
as fiction might also be true?