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Myth Hunters - S02E11

History . Biography . Documentary

It is one of the most romantic images ever photographed - Sophia, wife of the flamboyant adventurer-turned-archaeologist Heinrich Schliemann, decked in fabulous bronze age jewels. Schliemann had unearthed the jewels when excavating Troy. For years he had been on a quest to prove that the tales of Helen, Achilles and Agamemnon weren't just a story - but real history. He had searched for the site of Troy for many years, suffered mockery and abuse, but now he had found it. Not only that, but he had unearthed these extraordinary diadems - "the Jewels of Helen of Troy" - and a host of other artefacts that he dubbed "King Priam's Treasure." As far as Schliemann was concerned, he had been vindicated - he had found proof that Helen of Troy and the site of the city itself existed. Schliemann squirreled the The "Jewels of Helen" out of Turkey to Berlin - where they seem to have vanished off the face of the earth In the years that followed Schliemann's reputation and his methods were trashed. His excavation of Troy was deemed to be reckless, bulldozing through the site regardless, mixing layers in an irresponsible way and his dating was shown to be wildly inaccurate. More recent work has uncovered a much more likely candidate for Troy. But even if he was wrong about that, where were those fabulous jewels in the photograph? Even if they may not have been worn by Helen, they were clearly ancient and of huge value. Then in 1993, they re-appeared - in the Pushkin Museum in St Petersburg. The truth about them can at last be revealed.

Episode Title: The Lost Jewels of Helen of Troy
Airs: 2014-06-29 at 10:00 pm