Santorini Akrotiri Excavations15-02-2013 21:02Akrotiri on Santorini is one of the most important prehistoric settlements of the Aegean and gradually developed into one of the main urban centers and ports of the Minoan civilization during the Bronze Age.
Take a look at Touristorama video about Akrotiri Prehistoric Settlement before your visit there...
The first habitation at Thera (Santorini) and Therasia dates from the Late Neolithic times, at least the 4th millennium BC being at that time a considerable centre of Cycladic civilization. During the Bronze Age, in the 3rd millennium BC, Akrotiri was developed into a sizeable settlement that flourished mainly because of the trading relations with Crete, the center of Minoan civilization and is the most important Minoan site known to us outside of Crete. Akrotiri bears much resemblance to the Minoan sites of Crete with certain architectural features clearly originated on Crete.
The acme of Akrotiri came to an abrupt end in the 17th century BC when the volcano of Thera erupted. Prior to the volcanic eruption there must have been some severe earthquakes and the inhabitants were obliged to abandon the island as very few human remains were found. The Thera eruption covered the entire island and buried the settlement at Akrotiri. The volcanic materials however, have protected up to date the buildings and their contents, just like in Pompei and Akrotiri is a site frozen in time. The size of the city is very difficult to be estimated because of the depth of the volcanic ash that covers it but there are indications that it may have been around 20 hectares. If this is correct, then only a fraction of the site has been excavated.
The Akrotiri excavations include several large multistory houses notable for very well-preserved frescoes illustrating pictures of every day life in vivid colors like birds, plants, women and men in sports activities, closely resembling Minoan murals on Crete. There is also an elaborate drainage system, sophisticated furniture and pottery that show the great development and prosperity of Akrotiri. The various imported objects found in the buildings indicate the wide network of its external relations with Crete, the Greek Mainland, the Dodecanese, Cyprus, Syria and Egypt.
Exploration of the island of Thera began in 1845, and the extensive archaeological excavation began by the archaeologist and volcanologist Ferdinand Fouqué. In 1967, the Greek archaeologist Spyridon Marinatos began unearthing the beautifully preserved site. After Marinatos’s death in 1974, Christos Doumas continued the project.
The archaeological site opened once again for visitors in April 2012, after it has been closed for restoration as a roof structure collapsed in 2005, resulting in killing one visitor. Many of the artifacts found in the archaeological site in Akrotiri are exhibited in the Archaeological Museum of Fira in Santorini and in the Thera Exhibition in the National Archaeological Museum of Athens.
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