Tiny votive pot found at Troy

Archaeologists have discovered a tiny votive vessel in the ancient city of Troy that dates to the Hellenistic era. Just three centimeters (1.2 inches) high, it is the smallest container ever unearthed at Troy. It dates to the Hellenistic era, around 2,300 years ago.

The ancient city of Troy had already entered literary immortality centuries before this wee pot was made. The Illiad was written down around the 8th century B.C., but it was transmitting a far older oral tradition. The conflict that formed the kernel of truth inside the epic poem would have taken place in the 12th century B.C. during the Late Bronze Age collapse that felled civilizations all over the Mediterranean and Near East.

The earliest archaeological layers of Troy go back to 3500 B.C. when it was a small hilltop settlement. It evolved into a heavily fortified citadel that was regularly destroyed and regularly rebuilt and expanded, creating a stratigraphic crepe cake. Troy VIIa, destroyed in battle around 1180 B.C., is believed to be the Homeric Troy.

After yet another rebuild/destruction cycle, Troy was rebuilt by Greek immigrants around 700 B.C., reusing earlier walls. This iteration of the city, labelled Troy VIII,  lasted until 85 B.C., throughout the Archaic, Classical and Hellenistic periods. By the Classical period (5th and 4th centuries B.C.), Troy had become a popular destination for tourism and pilgrimage, and by the 3rd century B.C., the city was largely transformed into a sacred site. Visitors would leave votive offerings to Troy’s mythic heroes and deities at the city’s temples. The tiny pot was one of them.