Exploring the Magnificent Akrotiri: Santorini's Archaeological Gem

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The Akrotiri of Thira is a must-visit archaeological site on the island of Santorini. It offers visitors a unique opportunity to travel back in time and explore a city that was preserved under layers of volcanic material.

Akrotiri was a thriving prehistoric settlement during the Middle and Late Bronze Age, from the 20th to 17th century BC. It was not only a major city but also an important port in the Aegean. The city covered an impressive 20 acres and boasted advanced features such as a sophisticated social structure, public roads, sewerage, and multi-storey buildings.

Unfortunately, the city met a sudden and tragic end in the late 17th century BC, due to severe earthquakes followed by a volcanic eruption. The volcanic material that covered the entire island also protected the buildings and their contents, similar to what happened in Pompeii.

Interestingly, the absence of human skeletons at the site suggests that the inhabitants had enough time to evacuate the settlement, and possibly even the island. It is believed that they gathered in open spaces or the port in an attempt to save themselves and their belongings. The evidence indicates an organized and methodical departure, with collapsed walls and piles of stones conveniently placed for future use. Valuable objects were taken by the inhabitants, indicating a desire and hope to return someday.

The buildings of Akrotiri showcase impressive architecture and unique craftsmanship. The structures, adorned with beautifully carved facades, served both communal and private purposes. Private houses featured workshops, warehouses, and family rooms. Building materials were sourced locally or imported, with stone from the Thira quarries being the primary material. Pebbles and gravels were used for walls and floors, while timber from Crete provided seismic reinforcement for wooden frameworks in the walls. Plaster slabs from Knossos were placed on the floor, layered over crushed purple shells. The expertise and taste of the builders are evident in every detail.

The excavation of Akrotiri has unearthed over 5,000 vessels of various types, tools, figurines, ritual objects, and furniture. These findings demonstrate the remarkable development of the settlement. Food remains and animal bones provide insight into the inhabitants' dietary habits. Additionally, the site boasts impressive frescoes, the oldest examples of monumental painting in the Hellenic world. These frescoes offer valuable information about the society of Akrotiri through their narrative depictions.

Akrotiri's connections and trade routes are evidenced by various imported materials and objects. These items highlight the settlement's relationships and contacts with Minoan Crete, the Dodecanese islands, Cyprus, Continental Greece, Egypt, and Syria. Akrotiri truly stands as an archaeological gem, providing a glimpse into the vibrant and interconnected world of the Bronze Age Aegean.

Source Visitgreece.gr

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