New evidence from Therasia alters date of Santorini explosion

The dating of a piece of olive tree found on Therasia will move the dating of the explosion of Santorini’s volcano a few decades later than current estimates, the Ministry of Culture and Sports said on Friday.

New evidence from Therasia alters date of Santorini explosion
View of the hill of Koimisi at the southern end of Therasia
[Credit: Greek Ministry of Culture and Sports]

The wood was discovered in the area ‘Koimisi Therasias’, a prehistoric settlement which lies on a hillside of the island once connected to Thera (Santorini), at least up to the Middle Bronze Age, before the volcano exploded.
The settlement is on top of a hill on the southern side of Therasia, and on the edge of the caldera that existed before the volcanic explosion, that is variously dated from 1627 BC to 1600 BC.

New evidence from Therasia alters date of Santorini explosion
Excavations in the south and southeastern part of the hill, on the edge of the caldera
[Credit: Greek Ministry of Culture and Sports]

The wood belongs to the last stratigraphic phase before the explosion, the ministry pointed out.

The University of Arizona at Tucson team that tested the wood note that “the wood dates absolutely to the early 16th century BC, therefore places the Minoan-era blast some decades after the date supported until now.

New evidence from Therasia alters date of Santorini explosion
Early Bronze Age constructions surrounded by volcanic rocks
[Credit: Greek Ministry of Culture and Sports]

“In recent years, excavations had unveiled a large elliptical-shaped building and smaller constructions “ingenuously built into the volcanic rock face,” the ministry’s statement said.
Excavations this year focused in an area where research had shown possible architectural remains squeezed between layers of the explosion levels of the volcano.

“From the start of the excavation, lying in the ash and pumice layers were found very strong walls, built carefully and in straight lines, one of which was nearly seven metres long,” the ministry said.

New evidence from Therasia alters date of Santorini explosion
Strong straight-lined walls found during this year’s excavation period
[Credit: Greek Ministry of Culture and Sports]

The most significant excavation area found so far goes down to a depth of two metres, to a platform running along the whole length of the south wall, raising new possibilities about the use of the space in the Bronze Age.

The large thick walls and numerous Middle Cycladic pottery unearthed in undisturbed layers indicate a dating of about 2000 to 1700 BC and may incorporate earlier, Protocycladic constructions, the ministry said, adding that it is still early to figure out whether the walls were for defence or surrounded housing.

New evidence from Therasia alters date of Santorini explosion
A section of olive wood revealed during the removal of the pumice stone layer
of the Minoan Age explosion [Credit: Greek Ministry of Culture and Sports]

Dating was further clarified this year, bringing the ranges of dates of Therasia on par with the corresponding Aegean Island communities, both on Santorini (the Akrotiri site), as well as Ios (Skarkos) and Keros islands (Daskalio).
The excavation is conducted by the Ionian and Cretan Universities, the Cyclades Ephorate of Antiquities, an international research team, the city of Thera, the Institute for Aegean Prehistory (INSTAP) and the General Secretariat for Aegean and Island Policy.

Source: Tornos News [October 20, 2018]

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Bronze Age wall discovered in northeast Iran

Vestiges of a massive wall have recently been unearthed by a team of international archaeologists conducting a stratigraphy survey across the Tape (Hill) Naderi in Shirvan, northeast Iran.

Bronze Age wall discovered in northeast Iran
Credit: Tehran Times

“Based on archaeological evidence, the wall, which is over four meters in width, is most probably part of a defensive wall constructed in the Bronze Age,” ILNA quoted Ali-Akbar Vahdati who leads the survey as saying on Saturday.

Parts of the wall, that is almost two meters in height, remain intact, the Iranian archaeologist added.

“Tape Naderi is seemingly flourished on the brink of urbanization and the defensive wall was created to protect its inhabitants around the hill… considering [the fact] that main portions of aged deposits around it is related to the Bronze Age.”

Elsewhere in his remarks, Vahdati said the team is composed of experts from various disciplines including archaeology, geology, geophysics, restoration, architecture and surveying.

Iran’s Cultural Heritage, Handicrafts and Tourism Organization oversees the survey under close collaboration with the Chinese Nanjing University and the French National Museum of Natural History (Muséum national d’histoire naturelle).

Iran is also home to renowned Sasanian-era (224 to 651 CE) defensive wall, the Great Wall of Gorgan, which the country eyes on its possible inscription on the UNESCO World Heritage list.

Source: Tehran Times [October 20, 2018]

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