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Troy Retaining Wall Engineering

Homer's Troy was thought to be the stuff only of legend until 1988 when these colossal walls excavated near the theoretical site of Troy. Archaeologists report that these tall retaining walls enclosed a large (up to 10k pop.) city that appears to have been ruined amidst fire and bloodshed circa 1200 BC, Herodotus' date for the Trojan War.

As legend has it, the walls of Troy were built by Hercules, himself, and prophecy held that the divinely built fortification would never fail. Nonetheless, according to Homer's Iliad and Odyssey, the Ancient Greeks raised an army and laid siege to the city in order to retrieve Helen, the beautiful wife of Greek King Agamemnon. Helen had been swept off her feet and into a Trojan trading vessel by the charming Trojan prince Paris, otherwise known as Orlando Bloom. After 10 years, Troy and its walls had indeed held strong, but the cunning Odysseus (Ulysses) envisioned a loophole. He built a huge wooden horse on the shore, filled it with Greeks, and sailed the whole Greek fleet out of sight. The gullible, elated Trojans opened their gates and rolled the giant horse right into the city. The Greeks slipped out in the night and crashed the drunken Trojans celebration, reopening the gates for reinforcements, torching the city, and recovering Helen. During the raid, Paris, the womanizing archer, shot and killed the great Greek warrior Achilles, played by Brad Pitt in the Hollywood rendition, in the lone mortal part of his body, his heal. According to Virgil's Aeneid, another Trojan Prince, Aeneas, escaped with a small clan through an underground tunnel and sailed the Mediterranean before founding Rome. From these stories, we get colloquial terms such as Trojan Horse, Achilles Heel, and Odyssey, the title of Homer's account of Odysseus' harrowing return home to Crete. Among his travails are an encounter with a cyclops, the temptation of the sirens sweetly singing, and the hapless choice between braving a ship-sinking rock and a hard place harboring a six-headed monster.

Cape Cod Stoneworks can imitate the style of Troy's legendary walls. The walls are characterized by meandering, well defined courses of long, quasi-rectangular blocks of what appears to be limestone. The walls also feature a significant batter, or inward lean, which serves as an engineering aid. The notches you see helped the builders curve the wall and avoiding building corner, which are difficult to engineer and easier to undermine with battering rams.

Limestone was a favored building stone in the region as it is softer than most igneous rocks, like granite, and therefore easier to cut and quarry especially in the absence of steel tools pioneered by the Hittites, builders of remarkably engineered stone walls nearby around the time of Troy's fall.

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