When you first step foot into the excavation of the ancient Minoan town of Akrotiri the world seems to get just a little smaller. To stand in a spot where 4,000 years ago people walked those very streets going about their daily lives is one of the most amazing experiences a person can really have. The town sits now as a ruin covered in pumice and ash left over by the eruption that brought one of the most technologically advanced ancient civilizations to its knees.
Thousands of people mill around on the beautiful volcanic island of Santorini every day having little knowledge of the amazing geologic history that passes under their feet. The island is ever changing and is constantly forged then reforged by the liquified rocks churning beneath the sea. There are still those that know about the volcanism that has created the island you see today but fewer know of the true volcanic origins for this paradise.
“[…] There occurred violent earthquakes and floods; and in a single day and night of misfortune all your warlike men in a body sank into the earth, and the island of Atlantis in like manner disappeared in the depths of the sea.”
In Critias and Timaeus, Plato tells the tale of a utopia devoured by the sea and never seen again. Many are familiar with the myth of Atlantis and most know it to be just that: a fable for the children, a simple story to spark the imagination. But I refuse to believe that. Though there is very little physical evidence to support Atlantis’ existence, there are a few lines in Plato’s dialog that make a convincing argument.
There is a silence as I enter the climate controlled dome to see the ancient city of Akrotiri. This is partially due to being told “Shhhhhh” by our professor Lisa, but it’s also because everyone’s jaw dropped while staring at these ruins. The only thing that could be heard was the pitter patter of feet from children and even they weren’t saying anything. It was like entering a 3600 year old church frozen in time by ash and pumice with even the colors of the frescoes being preserved. Continue reading Buried Treasure: The City of Akrotiri
For the third year in a row, I walk into Ancient Akrotiri, a 4,000 year-old Minoan town buried in meters of ash and pumice from the ~1613 BC caldera-forming eruption of Santorini Volcano. The excavation site is a gray labyrinth of 1-3 story houses, shops, narrow alleys and staircases built on gently dipping slopes and reflecting the modern pattern of towns on Santorini.
Walking through the door that led to the excavated remains of the ancient city of Akrotiri, I wondered what I would see. I remembered learning about the people of Akrotiri and how something had caused them to leave before the Santorini eruption. But nobody really knew or had an explanation of where the Minoans could have gone, just that no remains of their bodies have ever been found.
Walking into a room full of ancient artifacts with no knowledge of why they’re in front of my face or what they’re about, I look up and see this fresco with bright, sky-blue daisies on top of a scarlet-maroon base. The colors were slightly faded but you could see that there was more to the painting than what was presented. I was so captivated by this piece of art, all I wanted to do was stare at it. I was curious to see if any other pieces would stand out to me, so I continued to walk around looking at the different paintings and reading up on the history of them. The paintings were filled with creativity and a sense of life. I was able to take a step into the city of Ancient Akrotiri.