One of Greece’s most famous archaeological sites, the Middle Bronze Age city of Akrotiri, reopened to the public today (April 11, 2012) after being closed for 7 years.
Built on the Greek island of Thera/Santorini, the prehistoric settlement was shut in 2005 after a protective roof collapsed, killing a tourist. A new steel and wood covering has now been built and the site admitted its first visitors this morning.
‘Akrotiri is a very important site; we want it open, accessible and safe,’ said Paul Geroulanos, Greek Minister of Culture and Tourism. ‘Visiting Akrotiri is a unique experience.’
Inhabited in c.1600-1525 BC, Akrotiri was once a prosperous trading centre but was abandoned after a volcanic eruption buried the site in several metres of ash. Its houses – many preserved up to two or three stories high, along with furniture and pottery – lay undisturbed for 3,500 years until the site was excavated by Spyridon Marianatos in 1967. See CWA 41 for more on this great discovery.
Watch out for Editor in Chief Andrew Selkirk’s article on his visit to Thera/Santorini in the next issue of CWA (#53)
I saw your article on the reopening of akrotiri and I should say I felt very happy about it! In that way many people will be notified about it. I am an archaeologist who has worked at Akrotiri for a number of years. Please allow me a correction in your article. the main phase of habitation of Akrotiri is the Late Bronze Age, and in fact the beginning of the Late Bronze Age, and not the Middle Bronze Age, as you mention in the beginning of your article. Of course, there was also a Middle Bronze Age phase and an Early Bronze Age phasein the stratigraphic history of the settlement , but the chronological period that was on when the eruption occrurred was the Late Bronze Age (in terms of archaeological chronology this is the mature phase of the Late Cycladic I period/Late Minoan IA period, and in terms of numbers the date of the eruption is of course under discussion still, but a substantial number of scholars agree, that this should have been 1650- 1600 B.C.).
We were there and had a reception as the first visitors after the reopening! It was amazing, and the site is very beautiful, although it’s not 100% ready.