Presentation on theme: "And the eruption of Santorini. Places and People Whole area: known as Aegean today Thera (part of group of islands: Cyclades) Akrotiri: major centre &"— Presentation transcript:
Places and People Whole area: known as Aegean today Thera (part of group of islands: Cyclades) Akrotiri: major centre & site of excavations Santorini: name of Thera today Crete Minoans: the civilisation of people on Crete Knossos: main centre on Crete
Timeline 3000BC Settlement on Thera Early Cycladic culture 2000BC Minoan civilisation First palaces 1620BC or 1500BC Eruption of Thera 1450BC Destruction of Knossos Collapse of Minoan power Mycenaeans occupy Knossos
The Archaeologists Spyridon Marinatos (1901-74) Began excavating Akrotiri (on the Southern tip o f Thera) in 1967 Discovered deposits of volcanic ash (tephra) up to 66m deep Believed in a link between the decline of the Minoan centres on Crete and the volcanic explosion which destroyed much of Thera in the 15 th century B.C. Christos Doumas Director of excavations after Marinatos’ death in 1974 Completed a major study of the Theran frescoes
The Sources Wall paintings (frescoes)Wall paintings Scenes on ornamental artefacts, etc Linear A (undeciphered)Linear A Design & layout of AkrotiriDesign & layout of Akrotiri Artefacts Geological studies (the eruption)Geological studies Physical Archaeological PictorialWritten Texts
The volcanic eruption Phase 1: column of ash carried 35km into the atmosphere Phase 2: Rain of pumice from this cloud covered the island Phase 4: magma comes violently into contact with sea water ;the centre of the island collapsed, forming 1100 foot cliffs around a central lagoon (caldera) Phase 3: 20 to 30 cubic kilometres of magma (molten rock) ejected along with hot dry avalanches of ash and pumice Geological studies show four phases occurring over several days
Results and theories of eruption Remains of Thera buried beneath a thick layer of ash and pumice (up to 70m deep) Archaeological evidence (such as pottery) dates the eruption to 1500BC Scientific methods suggests other dates, possibly as early as 1620BC Neither dating method is conclusive (certain) Marinatos believed the eruption would have caused tsunamis, destroying settlements ships and harbours on northern and eastern coasts of Crete He also believed volcanic ash falling on Crete would have damaged agriculture for many years after the eruption
Design and layout of Akrotiri Layout Long, narrow section of city excavated, running north-south Large number of buildings so far uncovered Construction Carefully cut and smoothed masonry, called ashlar (or xeste in Greek) Multi-storey houses built of stones and mortar, reinforced with wooden beams Wooden staircases Windows providing light and ventilation The town Narrow, cobbled streets Occasional small town squares Drainage system beneath the streets, connected to plumbing in the houses
Artefacts Pottery and stone vessels Metal artefacts Oil lamps Pestle and mortar Vases Cooking pots/barbecues Mostly made of bronze Fish hooks, knives, sickles and chisels Lead balance weights, bronze scale pans Not many metal items found
What do the artefacts tell us? How people cooked Probably ground up crops with pestle and mortar Used pots (stewing) and barbecues (cooking meat) Who used metal? Metal items were valuable. They appear to have been used for people’s livelihoods (their trades) Lifestyles Cooking implements were plain and functional Other decorated items are found eg: containers for pouring; vases Art/craft was important What happened to people of Thera? No human remains were found No valuables were found Seems people had warning of eruption and fled the town
Frescoes The Young Priestess fresco 1m high fresco of female wearing a long, heavy garment and carrying a vessel Thought by Marinatos to be a priestess because of her elaborate clothing First thought to be carrying a fig pudding or cake. Finding of similar clay artefacts suggest she is holding an incense burner (brazier) ‘…seems to be moving from Room 4 to Room 5 or vice versa, censing the house with some aromatic substance’ (Christos Doumas)
The Fisherman Fresco Shows a young, nude, male figure holding a bunch of fish in each hand (7 in right, 5 in left) Hair is blue except for two locks of black hair, one at front and one at back Marinatos believed blue on head used to represent shaven head Nanno Marinatos believes the fish represent an offering to a god or goddess Two fisherman in different parts of the room, appear to be walking toward a central point and an offering table, decorated with dolphins, was found in that corner.
Hairstyles in the frescoes Ellen Davis “The Thera frescoes present a set of pictorial conventions that distinguish six stages of maturity from youth to old age.” Four stages of youth indicated by different hairstyles Nannos Marinatos Religious associations Their nudity and shaven heads indicate they belong to a special group associated with religion
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