Pithos Garden of Troy

GPS coordinates: 26.240195, 39.957032

Archaeological site: 

Pithos Garden of Troy
Pithos Garden of Troy

Description: 

This text is a fragment of a guidebook to Troy "The Secrets of Troy (TAN Travel Guide)".

A pithos is a thick-walled, bulbous storage jar made of clay, sometimes higher than a standing person. Pithoi were widely used in the ancient Mediterranean and Near East regions, mainly for the storage and transportation of goods, but sometimes also as coffins. These storage containers were typically found half-buried in the floors of pantries and warehouses, where olive oil, water, honey, salt, and cereals were kept. The pithoi guaranteed the best conditions for these foodstuffs, keeping them cool and protected against rodents. They could also be sealed and stamped to mark their owners. If used for transportation, they were equipped with large handles in the upper part, through which the ropes were pulled. The pithoi shown in the exhibition were found at Troy, for instance in Megaron VI.

The archaeological artefacts on display here are the examples of ancient ceramics, including the huge storage vessels, called pithoi, from the period of 15th to 13th century BCE. There are also grinding stones and pestles as well as ceramic pipes from the Greco-Roman times.

Other objects related to food, displayed in the Pithos Garden, are grinding stones and pestles. These items give us valuable hints about the diet of the ancient Trojans. The cereals have been the basis of the human diet even before the hunter-gatherers settled and domesticated wheat. However, with the development of farming villages, such as the earliest Troy had been, the grains became the staple food.

The fertile Trojan Plain provided excellent farming conditions, but the grain also had to be processed into flour. Practically every household had a grindstone and a hand-held pestle. The monotonous activity of pulverizing the grains was one of the main tasks of girls and women of antiquity, as evidenced in the alternations in the joints of female skeletons.

The ceramic water pipes displayed here are from the newest layers of Troy settlement, representing the Roman period when the city was known as Ilium. The running water was of great importance to the residents of Troy, and these clay pipes indicate that they also understood the recommendations of the architect Vitruvius. He listed three ways for channelling water: stone conduits, lead pipes, and clay pipes. Of these three, he advised to used the clay ones, as cheaper, easier to make, and, most importantly,~healthier.

Ilium also benefited from the existence of public baths, once adorned with beautiful mosaics of coloured stones, that were supplied by these pipes. The water came from the nearby hills to the east of the city where some parts of the aqueduct are still standing.

Visitor tips: 

Walk back from the Trojan Horse square to the fork off near the entrance to the site. This time, follow the main sightseeing path, straight on. After walking about 50 meters, you will reach the small outdoor exhibition area, called the Pithos Garden, situated on your right. Enjoy the shaded area as the rest of the tour will be mainly in the open, without the protection of the trees.