Someplace else? Alternative locations for Troy

The ancient hilltop settlement of Motovun – a contender for the real Troy?

The ancient city of Troy is widely accepted to have been located in north-west Turkey, at a place called Hisarlik. This is where the legendary Trojan War between the Achaeans (Greeks) and the Trojans and their allies, as described in Homer’s Iliad, is said to have taken place. The archaeological site – originally excavated by Heinrich Schliemann in the late 19th century – is today inscribed as a World Heritage Site. But is it the right place?

Defensive walls unearthed at Hisarlik (by CherryX via Wikimedia Commons)

There have long been questions about whether Hisarlik and its geography and archaeology accord with the descriptions from Homer’s works. For example, John Crowe gives ten reasons why Troy was not at Hisarlik. Perhaps Troy was elsewhere in the Eastern Mediterranean? Then again, Homer’s references to grey seas in turmult sound more like the North Atlantic, leading some to propose that Troy was in northern Europe.

Here we feature some of the alternative theories…

Troy elsewhere in Turkey

First of all, John Chaple has proposed that Troy was in the vicinity of Hisarlik, but further inland. As per his website, Chaple places Troy in the area of Ezine, a town located some 24 km (15 miles) south of the favoured site of Troy at Hisarlik…

“…this theory suggests that Hisarlik was part of the first defences of a Trojan homeland that stretched far further inland than is fully appreciated now and probably included the entire valley of the Scamander and its plains (with their distinctive ‘Celtic’ field patterns). That doesn’t mean to say that most of the battles did not take place on the Plain of Troy near Hisarlik as tradition has it but this was only the Trojans ‘front garden’ as it were, yet the main Trojan territory was behind the defensive line of hills and was vastly bigger with the modern town of Ezine its capital – the real Troy”.

Source: John Caple’s website

Moving further afield, two authors have proposed that Pergamon (or Pergamum) was the real Troy. Pergamon is an ancient city some 150km south-east of Hisarlik, and slightly further inland.

In Troy, the World Deceived – Homer’s Guide to Pergamum, John Lascelles noted that Homer’s Ilios (acropolis) and Troy (town) were set in a location of grander scale than the ‘”modest mound” at Hisarlik. He also noted that Homer named the highest, most sacred part of Ilios as ‘Pergamos’, but that when Schliemann was searching for Troy he never got as far south as Pergamon. Lascalles goes on to link various parts of Pergamon to the features described in Homer’s works.

Inspired by Lascalles’ research, John Crowe wrote The Troy Deception Vol 1 – Finding the Plain of Troy. As per the book’s title, Crowe set out to search for the plain of Troy, on which the battles of the Trojan War took place. He suggests that the plain is in the lower valley of the Bakir Çayi, in a region known to the ancients as Mysia; and that the acropolis of Pergamon fits the description of Ilios, and the lower town of Troy must have been in the northern suburbs of (modern city) Bergama. There’s more at Troy Deception.

Pergamon Acropolis
Pergamon Acropolis from the Sanctuary of Asclepios (photo by Ingo Mehling)
Troy on the Adriatic coast

Two other authors have shifted the location of Troy further along the Mediterranean, and propose that it was located just inland from the Adriatic Sea.

In Homeric Whispers – Intimations of Orthodoxy in the Iliad and Odyssey, Mexican author Roberto Salinas Price makes a case for a place called Galela in Bosnia-Herzegovina – some 15km inland from the Adriatic coast. Price suggests that this was Troy until the 7th century BC when the Greeks cleverly transferred all the place names in the Iliad to territories that were Greek. More on this in the newspaper article here.

In Our Troy, historian Vedran Sinožić sets out his case that Troy was located further up the Adriatic coast in the Istrian peninsula of Croatia. More specifically, he favours the ancient hilltop village of Motovun (see featured image). It is a settlement with medieval origins, but also the site of an ancient city or casterlliere (fortified borough). The Castellieri culture that was associated with these fortified sites lasted for more than a millennium, from the 15th century BC until the Roman conquest in the 3rd century BC. There’s an article from Jason Covalito about the theory here. And a video here.

Troy in Finland

To jump a fair distance northwards, in The Baltic Origins of Homer’s Epic Tales, Italian author Felice Vinci proposed that Troy was located in southern Finland, and that the events of Homer’s epic poems took place in Northern Europe. His theory hinges on the Achaeans living on the coasts of the Baltic Sea before migrating to the Mediterranean, bringing their oral stories with them. The theory is certainly an interesting one, but lacks supporting evidence.

finlandAbove: Finland (in the Nordic Bronze Age, the climate would have been warmer)

Troy in England

Back in the 19th century, Belgian lawyer Théophile Cailleux wrote Atlantic lands described by Homer: the Iberian peninsula, Gaul, Britain, the Atlantic islands, the Americas. A new theory. Cailleaux suggested that the events described in Homer’s Iliad and Odyssey took place on the shores of the Atlantic Ocean. He situated Troy in East Anglia (eastern England) having discovered two huge war-dykes between Cambridge and the Wash.

In 1990, in his book Where Troy Once Stood, Iman Wilkens took up the Troy-in-England baton. He marshaled a range of geographical, historical and archaeological evidence in favour of Troy belonging to a Celtic culture, specifically that of eastern England. He proposed that Troy was located near to Cambridge and the Gog Magog Hills.

The Gogmagog Hills
Little Trees Hill, Gog Magog hills (photo by Antiphus at Wikimedia)

Another author has gone along with Wilkens’ placing of Troy in eastern England. Morten Alexander Joramo – in his book The Lost Civilization of the North – agrees with this location for Troy, yet believes that the voyages of Odysseus and Jason took place all around Scandinavia, rather than out in the Atlantic.

More recently, Bernard Jones has published his book The Discovery of Troy and its Lost History; and there is a website here and an article by the author here. Jones’ location for Troy is also eastern England, which he believes to be the correct Bronze Age environment for the Trojan War – at a time when sea levels were higher and areas of eastern England that are currently dry land were part of the North Sea.

As well as the suggestion that Troy is located in the east of England, there are also stories of a descendant of a Trojan War hero becoming Britain’s first king. This is based on survivors of the Trojan War, led by Aeneas, settling in Italy (where their descendants were instrumental in the foundation of Rome). Brutus, or Brute the Trojan, is said to have sailed onwards to south-west England. There’s more on this legend at Ancient Pages.

Some final thoughts…

There are some who doubt that the Trojan War was an historical event, and even that Homer – the supposed author of the Iliad and Odyssey – actually existed. Assuming that Troy existed at some point in history, its presumed location at Hisarlik seems an imperfect fit to say the least. However, whilst many of the alternative locations for Troy have their merits, they generally lack really compelling evidence – including archaeological evidence. As yet, none of the alternative locations has gained traction. In today’s world, Homer’s works continue to retain a strong sense of mystery, myth and legend.

This article was updated to add a paragraph on Bernard Jones’ book in May 2022.


Lascelles, J., Troy, the World Deceived – Homer’s Guide to Pergamum, Trafford, 2005

Crowe, J., The Troy Deception Vol 1 – Finding the Plain of Troy, Matador, 2011

Price, R.S., Homeric Whispers – Intimations of Orthodoxy in the Iliad and Odyssey, Scylax Press, 2006

Vinci, F., The Baltic Origins of Homer’s Epic Tales – The Iliad, the Odyssey and the Migration of Myth, Inner Traditions, 2006

Wilkens, I.J., Where Troy Once Stood – The Mystery of Homer’s Iliad and Odyssey Revealed, Rider, 1990, revised 2009

Joramo, M.A., The Lost Civilization of the North – Rediscovering the Ancient World, 2015

Jones, B., The Discovery of Troy and its Lost History, Trojan History Press, 2019

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