Akrotiri… the prehistoric Pompeii of the Aegean… the city that disappeared after the tremendous volcanic eruption about 3600 years ago! The incredible civilization that thrilled the scientists when they discovered it some 50 years ago. Is it indeed the lost continent of Atlantis? What is its connection with the Minoan and Egyptian civilization? The volcanic debris that was deposited on the surface of the island and covered the whole settlement protected it from the natural elements and gave us the chance to admire the achievements of the prehistoric inhabitants that in many cases outreach the modern comforts on the island.
Ask us for, the nearest, to your hotel, meeting point.
|WEAR||Low heeled comfortable shoes, hat, sunscreen|
|DIFFICULTY||Due to extend walking and slippery surfaces please inform us if you have walking disabilities or using a wheelchair before booking this tour.|
In the south of the island of Santorini lies Akrotiri, one of the most important Aegean settlements of the early Bronze Age (first half of the 2nd millennium B.C.).
The settlement was deserted because of the eruption of the volcano, but it was saved too for the same reason. Volcanic material covered it preserving the evidence of its glorious past: the vast territory, the multi-storeyed houses with exquisite frescoes, an amazing sewer system, stone streets and squares, and a multitude of luxurious vases and items of furniture.
The excavation site has been closed for several years, though restoration is continuing, but now it is reopen and worth to visit. To get an idea of what lies beneath, visit the Museum of Prehistoric Thira too, where gorgeous frescos of boats, fishers, wildlife and everyday people from several millennia ago are displayed. You can also see personal artifacts like pottery and furniture.
The earliest excavations on Santorini were conducted by French geologist F. Fouquet in 1867, after some local people found old artifacts at a quarry. Later, in 1895-1900, the digs by German archeologist Baron Friedrich Hiller von Gaertringen revealed the ruins of ancient Thera on Mesa Vouno. Also, a little later, R. Zahn excavated in the locality of Potamos, near Akrotiri, under the auspices of the German Archaeological Institute at Athens. Extensive modern excavation was started in 1967 by Spyridon Marinatos, and revealed the full value of this site. Spyridon Marinatos choice of site proved to be correct, and just a few hours into the excavation, the remains of the buried city began to be discovered. The next step was to determine the extent of the city, to which it took two whole seasons devoted to the site in 1967 and 1968. In the early years of the excavation, a great deal of attention was paid towards the organization of proper facilities for the dig, including substantial workshops, laboratories built for storage, repair and treatment, and areas for examination of archaeological finds. Because of the site being preserved in thick, volcanic debris, Marinatos noted that many of the buildings were preserved to a height of more than a single story, creating unique challenges for excavation. He experimented with tunneling into the pumice, but this technique was later abandoned. Some historians hold that this settlement, as well as the disaster that left it unknown to most of history, as the inspiration behind Plato’s story of Atlantis, as mentioned in his dialogues Timaeus and Critias. Excavated artifacts have been installed in a museum distant from the site (Museum of Prehistoric Thera), with many objects and artworks presented. Only a single gold object has been found, hidden beneath flooring, and no uninterred human skeletal remains have been found. This indicates that an orderly evacuation was performed with little or no loss of life.