понедельник, 3 февраля 2020 г.

Evidence of tsunami destruction found at Akrotiri before Thera eruption


Two faience objects imitating the shells of the sea mollusks triton and nautilus were among the most outstanding objects found during the continued excavations of the 'House of Benches', southwest of 'Xeste 3', in the prehistoric site of Akrotiri on Santorini (Thera), the Ministry of Culture said in a press release.

Evidence of tsunami destruction found at Akrotiri before Thera eruption
The interior of the building referred to as the "House of Benches'
[Credit: Greek Ministry of Culture]
Akrotiri was buried under the lava and ash of the volcano that erupted around 1500 BC, when half the island of Thera sank in the sea and left it the crescent shape familiar to tens of thousands of tourists visiting the popular island today.

Evidence of tsunami destruction found at Akrotiri before Thera eruption
Vases lying in situ Area 1 of the "House of Benches'
[Credit: Greek Ministry of Culture]


The Bronze Age site, protected under an extensive eco-friendly cover, has over the decades of its excavation revealed two-storey houses with advanced plumbing systems, finely painted frescoes, furniture and precious metals.

Evidence of tsunami destruction found at Akrotiri before Thera eruption
Two large bronze double axes were among the items found in Area 1 of the "House of Benches'
[Credit: Greek Ministry of Culture]
The fact that no bodies have been found suggests that the residents abandoned the site before the eruption, warned perhaps by earthquakes.

Evidence of tsunami destruction found at Akrotiri before Thera eruption
Beads made from animal horns from one or more necklaces were also found in
Area 1 of the "House of Benches' [Credit: Greek Ministry of Culture]
In Area 1 of the 'House of Benches', excavators also found two ritual large double axes from very thin bronze sheets, and other objects of metal, all of which may have been attached to wood. Particularly noteworthy is a faience triton-shaped fragment inscribed in ink with signs of the Linear A script.

Evidence of tsunami destruction found at Akrotiri before Thera eruption
Triton- and nautilus-shaped fragments [Credit: Greek Ministry of Culture]


Loose levels of sand with tiny shells, some pebbles and earth above the floor in Area 1 of the 'House of Benches' may be deposits from a tsunami preceding the volcano's eruption, according to geologist G. Vougioukalakis.
Evidence of tsunami destruction found at Akrotiri before Thera eruption
Octagonal shield-shaped crystal with red thread residues in the suspension hole
[Credit: Greek Ministry of Culture]
In Area 2, around the south and west sides of a deposit of animal horns, the sockets of at least six wooden piles were discovered, in which gypsum was injected to form casts. The excavations show that the piles created a kind of grate upon which the horns had been placed. At the base of the grate, mixed with the horns, were stone tools and other utensils.

Evidence of tsunami destruction found at Akrotiri before Thera eruption
Rosettes found in the fill at the end of the door openings of Area 1
[Credit: Greek Ministry of Culture]
Here the excavators also found forty-fines small vessels, upon which were found textile residues and charred fruits. The dating of some vessels to the Late Cycladic IA period confirms that the building was in use and functioning until the final destruction of the city.

Evidence of tsunami destruction found at Akrotiri before Thera eruption
Deposit of animal horns and the sockets of at least six wooden piles in Area 2 
[Credit: Greek Ministry of Culture]


Excavators, led by professor Christos Doumas, found a box containing a marble Early Cycladic female figurine of the Spedos type, retaining the torso only and cushioned within another wooden box. The interior walls of one box are painted in bright red colour, the ministry said.

Evidence of tsunami destruction found at Akrotiri before Thera eruption
Clay boxes, Early Cycladic figurine and ceramic mortar lying to the west of the animal horn deposit
[Credit: Greek Ministry of Culture]
The same area yielded fragments of stone utensils and seashells, as well as two sets of small Early Cycladic vessels, one in a group of 16 arranged around a wooden object, and another of 131 small vases found in a shallow hole made on the floor.

Evidence of tsunami destruction found at Akrotiri before Thera eruption
Fragments of stone tools and cluster of small Proto-Cycladic vases found under crumbling
floor slabs in southwestern part of Area 2 [Credit: Greek Ministry of Culture]
Similar ceramics were found elsewhere on the site and their number and fairly crude workmanship show they may have been used for some ritual. At the same 'House of Benches', as the building has been named, excavators in 1999 had found a gold ibex figurine inside a clay box, next to a pile of animal horns.

Evidence of tsunami destruction found at Akrotiri before Thera eruption
Cluster of 16 Proto-Cycladic vases placed around a wooden object in the southwestern part of Area 2
[Credit: Greek Ministry of Culture]
"It's obvious that the ongoing research of the 'House of Benches' in the southern limit of the prehistoric city of Akrotiri, next to 'Xeste 3' - the important public bilding with the rich wall paintings - is expected to reveal a great store of data that will give a boost to interpreting key questions about prehistoric Aegean society," the ministry concluded.

The excavation is under the supervision of the Cycladic Islands Ephorate of Antiquities and is funded by Kaspersky company.

Source: Greek Ministry of Culture via Athens-Macedonian News Agency [January 30, 2020]



* This article was originally published here

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