ARCHAEOLOGICAL SITE OF AKROTIRI
AKROTIRI IN BRIEF
Akrotiri, the ancient city of Santorini, stands a few kilometers away from the capital of the island Fira. It is identified as the best preserved prehistoric site, and is regarded as a crucial site because of that.
At the end of the 17th century B.C., the volcano Thera erupted, in what seems to be the one of the biggest eruption in the history of our planet.
Under the volcanic remains, lied the city of Akrotiri. Fortunately the 30,000 inhabitants flew before the disaster occurred, as no bodies were recovered. What was recovered however was very well preserved artifacts, pottery, and beautiful wall paintings. The volcanic eruption had been at the same time a catastrophe and a preserver.
The site was first discovered in 1866, after a small new volcanic eruption, and since 1967, excavations, still at work, began, then, under the supervision of professor Marinatos.
Streets, squares, public and private buildings (as high as 3 floor) can be seen. In every house, we can find astonishingly well preserved wall paintings covering the interior of the buildings.
Wall paintings were found in public as well as private buildings, showing an artistic freedom. They reveal a typical Minoan trait, which is the absence of 3 dimensions.
There is a wide variety of subjects painted: geometrical symbols, lifeless objects, buildings, vegetation, animals and even humans. Each home had its own drawings, which shows it is very probable that the subject painted was related to the people living in these houses at that time (L. Morgan). A fisherman would have paintings related to his occupation and so on.
Many information concerning the lives and habits of the inhabitants can be drawn from these wall paintings alone.
Most human figures are well dressed, with jewelry and other richness, and nude youth. Animal paintings depict both domestic and wild races, even races that were not native to the island, such as antelopes and monkeys, which were probably traded. The Minoans had an impressionable naval fleet, which is also depicted in many murals.