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September 21 2012

Will Ancient Akrotiri Face Another Massive Eruption?

Akrotiri is well known to archaeologists as the excavation site of a remarkably well-preserved Minoan Bronze Age settlement that was buried by the massive and widespread Theran eruption in the middle of the second millennium BC. The eruption was one of the largest volcanic events in recorded history. It devastated the island of Thera (also called Santorini), which included the settlement at Akrotiri, in addition to communities and agricultural areas on nearby islands and on the coast of Crete. Like the Roman ruins of Pompeii much later in 79 A.D., it's buildings and human artifacts were exceptionally preserved under the super-heated, yet protective, covering of the volcano's ashfall. Frescoes, pottery, furniture, advanced drainage systems and three-story buildings have been discovered at the site through excavations conducted by Spyridon Marinatos beginning in 1967. Some historians suggest that this settlement, as well as the volcanic disaster, was the inspiration for Plato's writing about Atlantis.

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