When the Santorini volcano erupted 4000 years ago in the Bronze age, there was already a full-blown civilisation in this part of the Mediterranean. The Minoan civilisation centered on the island of Crete, and since Crete is a mere 200km south of Santorini, with no other landmasses in-between, then Santorini became an important gateway to the rest of the Greek islands. We have a great record of how things were in the buried town of Akrotiri.
Akrotiri was on the slopes of the old volcano, and looked to be a wealthy town. They had buildings up to three stories high, running water, even drains and sewers. That’s highly sophisticated town for the Bronze Age. Unlike in the buried Roman city of Pompeii, people on Akrotiri had plenty of warnings that the volcano was about to blow through a series of earthquakes that devastated the city in the months leading up to the eruption, hence there have been no skeletal remains found on the site. What was left though is quite astonishing, and the Greeks have beautifully preserved it in a giant hanger-like structure to protect the site.
Here, the houses, the pottery, even the frescoes have been preserved and in tact. You could even walk through some of the houses.
We saw the remnants of the old kitchen, where someone was cooking dinner 4000 years ago.
And here looked like the remains of the toilet facitilies.
Outside, we saw how much ash the archaeologists, who have been working on the site since the late 1960s, had to dig out in order to excavate the site. It’s certainly the work of a lifetime for them. We were glad to be able to see it.