Akrotiri is the name of an excavation site of a
Minoan Bronze Age settlement on the Greek island of Santorini, associated with
the Minoan civilization due to inscriptions in Linear A, and close similarities
in artifact and fresco styles. The excavation is named for a modern Greek
village situated on a hill nearby. The name of the site in antiquity is unknown.
The covered remains of Akrotiri are unnervingly quiet, as if not only the
ancient inhabitants but also the modern archaeologists have just fled from an
impending disaster. All around us are brown walls, most only half-height,
enclosing small rooms stripped of all detail. The lives -and fates- of the
occupants are a mystery.
Akrotiri was buried by the widespread Theran eruption in the middle of the
second millennium BC (during the Late Minoan IA period); as a result, like the
Roman ruins of Pompeii after it, it is remarkably well-preserved. Frescoes,
pottery, furniture, advanced drainage systems and three-story buildings have
been discovered at the site, whose excavation was started in 1967 by Spyridon
Certain historians hold this settlement, as well as the disaster that left it
unknown to most of history, as the inspiration behind Plato's story of Atlantis,
as mentioned in his dialogues Timaeus and Critias. Excavated artifacts have been
installed in a museum distant from the site (Museum of Prehistoric Thera), with
many objects and artworks presented. Only a single gold object has been found,
hidden beneath flooring, and no uninterred human skeletal remains have been
found. This indicates that an orderly evacuation was performed with little or no
loss of life.
An ambitious modern roof structure, meant to protect the site, collapsed just
prior to its completion in 2005. No damages were recorded to the antiquities. As
a result of this, the site was closed to visitors. As of April 2012, the site is
once again open to the public.