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Archaeological Sites
Akrotiri (Thira)
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The prehistoric settlement of Akrotiri is located in the southern part of the island, one kilometer south of the homonym modern settlement. A random extraction of the 19th century resulted in the discovery of a prehistoric city that dominated the southern coast of Santorini.

 

History

The prehistoric town of Akrotiri was founded in 4,500 BC. The complete residential development was estimated in the 18th century BC.  The destruction of the city was due to a volcanic eruption, whose ash covered the town in the early 17th century BC. The absence of human skeletons confirms that the city was abandoned shortly before the explosion, possibly because of earthquake precursors.

The prehistoric settlement was discovered accidentally in 1866 during mining in the area. The next years a series of investigations by French experts took place. Almost 100 years later, a formal excavation of the site began under the Greek archaeologist Spyros Marinatos. In 1974, after the death of Marinatos, excavations were undertaken by the Greek archaeologist Christos Doumas.

 

Architecture

The prehistoric city had an estimated area of ​​200 acres. Its population stood at 30.000 residents. The geographical position of the city was of great strategic importance as it could serve as a port, sheltered from the northerly winds. Similarly, the fertile soil of the region was ideal for the development of agriculture.

The city presents  an urban sprawl without clear direction. The houses were built next to each other, usually  on two floors. The ground floor was used as a storage. The building materials were  mud bricks, stones, straw and reeds. Clay pipes that were enclosed within the walls of the buildings were part of the sewer system that ended up in the sewers beneath the cobbled streets.

During the excavations, great murals were discovered that were manufactured with the fresco technique. In this way, the colors of the paintings remained unchanged until today. The paintings were mostly matters of everyday life. The most famous of these is 'the Gathering saffron', 'The Mistress of the Beasts', 'The Boxers', 'the Blue Monkeys' and 'The Fisherman'.

In 1999  was found the most precious object of the site. This is the gold ibex which is kept in the museum of Prehistoric Thira.

 

Information

The site is open daily from 10:00 to 17:00. Tel: (+30) 22860 81939.



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