Ignorance is Not Bliss: What Doomed Pompeii and Saved Akrotiri

Throughout our study here on Santorini, our geologic knowledge was built up to one main event: the Minoan eruption. As an anthropology major, all I was concerned about was the settlement of Akrotiri, which was preserved beneath the ash. As I wandered through the excavation site of Akrotiri, I began to draw comparisons between this city and the city of Pompeii.
The main point of difference between these two very similar cases is the death toll. Akrotiri excavations have turned up no human remains, or any sign of human activity during the eruption at all. This indicates that the Minoans evacuated before the eruption even began, most likely during the preliminary earthquakes. Conversely, Pompeii is closely linked in memory to the bodies found preserved in casts of ash. While all of Pompeii has not be excavated, the number of bodies found represents a tenth of the overall population, putting the death toll in the thousands.
I began to wonder: why did Akrotiri evacuate and not Pompeii? There are several possible factors that could have led to the Minoans abandoning their city before the real danger even began.

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A Cat’s Diary in Ancient Greece

This is my first trip outside of the United States. I knew it would be rough not only to leave my family, but also my five cats. When I saw how many cats there were in Athens and Santorini, I fell in love. My visual narrative displays what I love the most: cats and Greek mythology. My writing takes place in 430 BC in the … Continue reading A Cat’s Diary in Ancient Greece

Subsidence: The Story of a Great and Wonderful Empire

“[…] There occurred violent earthquakes and floods; and in a single day and night of misfortune all your warlike men in a body sank into the earth, and the island of Atlantis in like manner disappeared in the depths of the sea.”

In Critias and Timaeus, Plato tells the tale of a utopia devoured by the sea and never seen again. Many are familiar with the myth of Atlantis and most know it to be just that: a fable for the children, a simple story to spark the imagination. But I refuse to believe that. Though there is very little physical evidence to support Atlantis’ existence, there are a few lines in Plato’s dialog that make a convincing argument.

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A Step into Ancient Akrotiri

Walking into a room full of ancient artifacts with no knowledge of why they’re in front of my face or what they’re about, I look up and see this fresco with bright, sky-blue daisies on top of a scarlet-maroon base. The colors were slightly faded but you could see that there was more to the painting than what was presented. I was so captivated by this piece of art, all I wanted to do was stare at it. I was curious to see if any other pieces would stand out to me, so I continued to walk around looking at the different paintings and reading up on the history of them. The paintings were filled with creativity and a sense of life.  I was able to take a step into the city of Ancient Akrotiri.

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Cut scene: Phase 0

 

In most horror films there is a warning scene right before everything goes down hill. You sit on the edge of your seat and shout at the group not to go into the basement for there is disaster lurking below. However, it is the characters’ decision whether to investigate the noise or get out as fast a possible. In the case of the Minoan eruption the earthquakes and phase 0 are the warning scene. In most horror or thriller films the main character walks toward the impending threat. However this is not the fate for the Minoans, or so we believe.

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Under the Sea Darling its Better!

As a child, the lost city of Atlantis fascinated me. How could an entire empire just vanish in the blink of an eye without a trace? Before coming to Santorini my teacher sent out an article on Facebook about the possibility of Atlantis be in Santorini. After reading and talking to Lisa it was clear that there is real geological evidence for Atlantis being in Santorini. Continue reading “Under the Sea Darling its Better!”

Game of Gods

Who among us has not at some point been interested in mythology? The stories? The drama? The art? Ever since I was little I have loved mythology. Was it because Hercules was the first movie I ever saw in movie theaters? Maybe. But the gods and goddesses of Ancient Greece have been captivating people for centuries because of their elaborate and dramatic backstories and lives. It’s rare to find a collection of stories so complex and rooted in such spectacular architecture, sculptures, and history.

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