Santorini - archaeological site of Akrotiri - xeste 2 / facade north - photo © Bernard Duyck 09.2019
Excavations still in progress at Akrotiri have yielded many finds, the study of which has challenged ancient theories about the history of the Aegean Sea.
The site of Akrotiri has been inhabited since the middle of the 5th millennium BC; At the end of the third millennium and the beginning of the second millennium BC, Akrotiri was an important commercial and urban center of cosmopolitan character, with a sophisticated culture.
Specialization in the fields of craftsmanship and the division of labor is reflected in the products of this culture: pottery, metalworking, shipbuilding, etc., and testifies to the urban character of the Santorini society.
Santorini - archaeological site of Akrotiri - stratification of ash and pumice deposits - photo © Bernard Duyck 09.2019
Santorini - archaeological site of Akrotiri - Shop with "pithois" (large storage jars) - photo © Bernard Duyck 09.2019
The houses have two to three floors and many rooms. The most luxurious were built with carved stones (they are called "xestes"), the most modest in mud and straw. Wooden beams support the ceilings and lintels of doors and windows; they were equipped with sanitary facilities, household equipment and furniture, of which casts were found in the ashes.
The houses are nested in an urbanized plan equipped with a network of sewers, and are divided in small streets which widen in places of variable size in places.
Santorini - archaeological site of Akrotiri - digital reconstruction of a two-storey house and a decorated interior, with doors and cupboards, and paved with volcanic stone slabs - photo © Bernard Duyck 09.2019 - one click to enlarge
The murals found in the ruins testify to the daily life of the activities and the appearance of the inhabitants of Akrotiri, merchants, sailors or craftsmen; The nature scenes show the original links with Greece, and the contacts with Egypt. They are all true works of art, which will be mentioned in an article on art.
Wool or linen tissues were dyed naturally, and sometimes expensive products: murex shells were found, and saffron was grown.
Santorini - archaeological site of Akrotiri - West house / room 4 - decoration with a young man with fish, naked and shaved head - photo © Bernard Duyck 09.2019
The great eruption of 1600 BC covered this civilization with pumice and ashes, apparently without much casualties ... only pottery and some inexpensive utensils, no skeletons (as in Pompeii and Herculaneum the eruption of Vesuvius). The inhabitants of the island, populated at the time, were able to assess the risks and flee, with their valuables, from the first strong earthquakes ( traces visible on a staircase), or eruptive manifestations, thanks to their fleet.
Santorini - archaeological site of Akrotiri - broken stairs in the delta complex of excavations - photo © Bernard Duyck 09.2019
Source : Akrotiri - Thera and the Mediterranean - by Nanno Marinatos / Edit. Militos