Skip to comments.Akrotiri, Santorini: the Minoan Pompeii - part 1 [of 6]
Posted on 11/01/2009 11:02:02 AM PST by SunkenCiv
The site was found by accident when the Suez Canal was being constructed in 1860. Workers quarrying Santorini's volcanic ash discovered the ruins, but serious excavations at the site didn't begin until 1967. An unfortunate collapse of the roof in 2005, which killed a British tourist, caused the site to be closed. It's scheduled to be reopened sometime after 2010. Greek bureaucracy has brought the repairs of the building to a halt, which has caused Santorini's tourist trade to suffer.
Akrotiri is referred to by some as the "Minoan Pompeii" because of the similarities of the destruction by volcano and the advanced forms of architecture and plumbing. It's one of the most important prehistoric settlements in the Aegean Sea. By analyzing the different items found in the ruins, archeologists were able to pinpoint which countries traded in the port at Akrotiri up until it was covered by lava around 1450 BCE.
Some speculate that Akrotiri could be the lost city of Atlantis. However, it's widely accepted that Akrotiri was part of the Minoan civilization of Crete centered at Knossos. Akrotiri also had trade connections with the Greek mainland, Cyprus, Syria, Egypt, and the other islands in the area known as the Dodecanese. Frescoes discovered in the excavations portray parades of boats in what must have been a very busy merchant port.
Archeologists have found an elaborate drainage system, multi-story buildings, art work, clay vessels for food and wine storage, and furniture, all indicating this was a prosperous seaside civilization dating back to around 3000 BCE. To date, only one gold object has been found. A gold ibex was discovered underneath the floor of a house, as if forgotten. It's pictured in the slide show.
(Excerpt) Read more at examiner.com ...
Fresco of Akrotiri Spring
Not much to the article, particularly since it's in six parts, but the similarly divided slideshow is halfway decent. Some, like the lotus pic shown above, are from wiki-wacky-pedia, rather than the author of the piece.
· Discover · Nat Geographic · Texas AM Anthro News · Yahoo Anthro & Archaeo · Google ·
· The Archaeology Channel · Excerpt, or Link only? · cgk's list of ping lists ·
There was a report about 1987 that analysis of volcanic ash which fell on Greenland (discovered from cores drilled through the Greenland ice cap) indicated a date around 1628 B.C. for the great eruption of the volcano on Thera. There may be some scholars who still prefer a later date for the destruction of the Bronze Age civilization on Thera.
Theran deposits were going to be used for the construction of the canal. :’) Of course, it *was* a *French* project...
New Ice-Core Evidence Challenges the 1620s age for the Santorini (Minoan) Eruption
Journal of Archaeological Science, Volume 25, Issue 3, March 1998,
Pages 279-289 | 13 July 1997 | Gregory A. Zielinski, Mark S. Germani
Posted on 07/29/2004 12:25:45 AM PDT by SunkenCiv
Thanks for the link—I need to check that out. I think I was traveling at the time of the initial thread in 2004 and missed it entirely.
You have to dig around to find the author’s name but it says that the text is by Jeremy Rutter, Chairman of the Classics Dept. at Dartmouth.
thanks for the links
the BBC had some specials about the sea peoples and the end of the Bronze age; the real question is how this volcano could have affected the collapse of Mycenae the hittites etc...right now, the volcano came two hundred years earlier,but I wonder if the dates might correspond to a later eruption, or a climatic problem that caused the migrations.
Wow, this is a great source, Thanks.
I saw recently about a study of major tsunami destruction along the northern side of Crete. I think the hypotensis is that if a tsunami caused by Thera occurred, it would have destroyed the maritime power of Crete. All the ships in port would have been destroyed. Most of the shipbuilders, probably living near their work, would have been killed. Only those ships at sea would have survived, but there would have been far fewer skilled workers to keep them repaired and to build replacements. Hence, after a few generations the power of Crete would have been greatly diminished.
There wasn’t any. There’s literally no evidence for a civilization-shattering tsunami on Crete. I mean, some joker in the past year or so found the ruins of a small building from the Palatial era, on Crete, it was quite close to the beach, and decided its dilapidated state (after 3000 years) was due to having been hit by a tsunami.
The caldera is prehistoric. The eruption that caused the side of the crater to give way was also prehistoric. This isn’t just me talkin’. Anyway, the direction in which the hypothetical tsunami would head would be the Greek mainland.
Bupkis. No trace.
There’s likewise no trace on Crete, and an ash layer attributed to the Theran volcano (but not dated, except as the supposed super-eruption is dated) is measured in millimeters.
My pleasure. It’s one of the better resources (particularly for homeschoolers I suspect) on the web, at least for that part of ancient history. :’)
The Argonaut Epos and Bronze Age Economic History
Economics Department, City College of NY | Revised May 14, 1999 | Morris Silver
Posted on 08/25/2004 10:30:51 PM PDT by SunkenCiv
parts 3 through 6 are lost apparently.
Akrotiri, Santorini: the “Minoan Pompeii” - part 2
August 29, 10:27
AMLA Cultural Travel Examiner
Rachel de Carlos
Fresco of Akrotiri Spring. wikimedia.org/public domain
The excavations at the archeological site at Akrotiri in Santorini are ongoing, so there is scaffolding everywhere and supports in place to stabilize walls, windows and doorways that might otherwise collapse. You need to use your imagination to put yourself back in prehistoric times, but with the help of guides or signs posted along the walkways, you can get a fair idea of what life was like. An excavated toilet, pictured in the slide show, has been left in view for the amusement of the tourists and to demonstrate how advanced the plumbing and drainage system was.
The inhabitants had warning that the volcano would erupt, perhaps frightened into leaving by strong earthquakes that were precursors to the massive eruption. No human remains were discovered and no precious possessions, such as jewelry, have been found. They fled the island with their belongings, but tools and storage vessels were left in place, indicating they evacuated the area fairly quickly. Some of the clay pots had traces of olive oil, fish and onions. It’s not sure where they went, but they had close ties to Crete and Egypt and would most likely have found refuge there.
The archeological site is now covered by a beautiful permanent building to protect the work being done inside. It’s estimated the area of the settlement is 30 times the size of what’s been uncovered, but the site they chose to work on has revealed a fascinating cross section of ancient society and sophisticated building techniques. These include houses built three stories high, some with balconies. The frescoes have been relocated to the National Archeological Museum in Athens, but Santorini is trying to get them back. The smaller items, such as furniture, vessels and sculptures, are on display in the island’s archeological museum. Not all the artifacts have been taken away, though, and can be seen while walking along the specially constructed walkways through the excavations.
Whoops, spoke too soon.
The frescoes surprise me with their vibrancy and sophistication. Probably just prejudice on my part as to what people of that distant era were capable of.
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