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Schliemann, Heinrich

Born: 1822 AD
Died: 1890 AD
Nationality: German
Categories: Archaeologist

1822 – He was born on the 6th day of January this year in Mecklenburg-Schwerin, Germany.


1831 – When he was just 9 years old, his mother Luise Therese Sophie died this year. After her death, Heinrich was sent to live with his uncle.


1833 – was enrolled in the Gymnasium (grammar school) at Neustrelitz, with his attendance paid for by his father. He attended the grammar school for at least a year.


1836 – He left Realschule at age 14, he became a grocer’s apprentice at Herr Holtz’s grocery in Fürstenberg. He labored in the grocery for five years, reading voraciously whenever he had a spare moment.


1841 – He fled to Hamburg and became a cabin boy on the Dorothea, a steamer bound for Venezuela. After twelve days at sea the ship foundered in a gale, and the survivors washed up on the shores of the Netherlands.


1842 – After his shipwreck, he seems to have been footloose in Amsterdam and Hamburg for a brief period. He then found employment, in this year, at the commodities firm of F. C. Quien and Son.


1844 –  He took a position with B. H. Schröder & Co., an import/export firm.

1846 – There he evidenced such judgement and talent for the work that they sent him as a General Agent in 1846 to St. Petersburg, where the markets were favorable.

1850 Heinrich learned of the death of his brother, Ludwig, who had become wealthy as a speculator in the California gold fields.

1851 – Taking the cue, Schliemann went to California in early 1851 and started a bank in Sacramento. The bank bought and resold over a million dollars in gold dust in just six months. Later Heinrich claimed to have acquired United States citizenship when California was made a state.


1852 – He did not stay long in the United States. On April 7 of this year, he sold his business rather suddenly (due to fever, he said) and returned to Russia. There he attempted to live the life of a gentleman, which brought him into contact with Ekaterina Lyschin, the niece of one of his wealthy friends.

1852 – He married Ekaterina on October 12 of this year.


1858 – He became so wealthy. The poor minister’s son had overcome poverty in his own life. He no longer considered himself a professional businessman and was no longer interested in speculation.


1858 – Some say he retired at 36, which would have been in this year; others say  at age 41. In his memoirs he claimed that he wished to dedicate himself to the pursuit of Troy, but this claim, along with many others, is unlikely to be true.


1871 – He was ready to go to work at Troy. Thinking that Homeric Troy must be in the lowest level, he dug hastily through the upper levels, reaching fortifications that he took to be his target.


1872 – He and Calvert fell out over this method. He flew into a fury when Calvert published an article stating that the Trojan War period was missing from the record, probably meaning that Schliemann had destroyed it.


1875 – Meanwhile Heinrich published Troja und seine Ruinen in this year.


1876 – The so-called ‘Mask of Agamemnon’, was  discovered by Heinrich Schliemann  at Mycenae. He also began excavating at Mycenae.

1878 –  He dig Troy this year, discovering the Shaft Graves with their skeletons and more regal gold, such as the Mask of Agamemnon, the irrepressible Heinrich cabled the king of Greece. The results were published in this year at Mykena.


1879 – He was joined by Emile Burnouf and Rudolph Virchow on his second excavation.


1882 – The third excavation occurred in this year.


1884 – An excavation of Tiryns with Wilhelm Dörpfeld and a fourth at Troy in 1888-1890, with Dörpfeld, who taught him to stratigraphize. By then, much of the site had been lost to unscientific digging.


1890 – On the 1st day of August this year, he returned reluctantly to Athens, and in November traveled to Halle for an operation on his chronically infected ears. On Christmas day he collapsed in Naples and died in a hotel room on the 26th of December of the same year. His corpse was then transported by friends to the Proto Nekrotafio in Athens.