Walking through the door that led to the excavated remains of the ancient city of Akrotiri, I wondered what I would see. I remembered learning about the people of Akrotiri and how something had caused them to leave before the Santorini eruption. But nobody really knew or had an explanation of where the Minoans could have gone, just that no remains of their bodies have ever been found.
The city of Ancient Akrotiri was home to the Minoan people. They were an advanced civilization with a sophisticated level of communication outside of their territory. They showed evidence of trade with places as far as Africa, indoor plumbing, specialization in crafts (pottery, carved gold rings), textile, and paintings.
I started to think of how they knew when to leave and where did they go. At the ancient site, you can see evidence of them packing up their belongings, from tables being flipped over to beds being stacked together. It was also brought to my attention that they were packing their things with the intention of returning.
The past week and a half, we learned in class that many different events happened before the Minoan Eruption. This particular eruptions had many preceding earthquakes and seismic activity before the actual eruption. Many other big volcanic eruptions in history, like Mt. Vesuvius, Italy, in 79 A.D. had little to no seismic activity at all before the volcano erupted.
Signs of seismic activity forced the Minoans to leave their homes. Broken staircases, collapsed walls, houses reduced to ruins have been found beneath the earliest deposits of the Minoan Eruptions. The Earthquakes caused the buildings to have shear stress. Shear stress is force tending to cause deformation of a material by slippage along a plane or planes parallel to the imposed stress.Thinking back to this lesson I remember reading that they actively cleaning while these eruptions were going on but somewhere in between the earthquakes and the beginning of phase 1, something had to have clued into them that it was time to go.
A layer of fine ash was left undisturbed over the landscape, which tells us that they had to have left before it was deposited.The layer of fine ash that blanketed the landscape is called Phase 0.The ash, which is about 1-8 centimeters in thickness depending on the area in which you stand, blanketed the landscape during the stage of eruption, like the first layer of snow blankets the land. It’s interpreted as the result of phreatomagmatic (magma + water flashing to steam) explosions during the opening phase of the Minoan eruptions  and was laid down in the form of fine water-quenched particles in the lowermost levels of the Minoan pumice on Akrotiri peninsula.
These earthquakes were probably strong enough to be an effective warning for the people. The Minoan Civilization of the Ancient Akrotiri were given a blessing in disguise. This series of earthquakes signaled to the Minoans to pack up their belonging and leave. There is still a lot of evidence that has yet to be found. It’s possible that the Minoans were able to leave quickly and arrive on Crete and retreat to the palace of Knossos or we could discover their remains in the areas of Akrotiri that have yet to be discovered.For my information about Phase 0, you can refer to my fellow classmate Becca’s blog (Cut Scene: Phase 0).
Friedrich, W, 2009, SANTORINI – Volcano – Natural History – Mythology; Narayana Press, Denmark the Author and Aarhus University Press, 300 pages.