Greek archaeologist well known for his excavations at Akrotiri on the island of Thera. Born at Lixouri on the island of Cephalonia, he studied archaeology and philology at Athens, Berlin, and Halle universities. His archaeological career began when he was made caretaker of antiquities on Crete, and he eventually spent twenty years there and became Director of the Archaeological Museum of Herakleion. In 1937 he was appointed Director of the Archaeology Division of the Education Ministry, and in 1939 he was given the Chair of Archaeology at the University of Athens. In the same year he proposed the idea that the collapse of Minoan civilization in the Aegean was caused by the eruption of Thera in c.1500 bc. Later, in 1966, he discovered the buried Bronze Age port city at Akrotiri on Thera, and he spent most of the later part of his life excavating it. Marinatos also discovered the site of the battle of Thermopylae (480 bc) and the burial ground associated with the battle of Marathon (490 bc). Amongst his many publications is Crete and Mycenae (1959, London: Thames & Hudson). In 1955 he was elected a member of the Athens Academy. When the military junta seized power in Greece in 1967 he was appointed Inspector-General of the Archaeological Services, duties he was relieved of after the second military coup. Marinatos was killed in an accident during the excavations at Akrotiri and is buried at the site.
From The Concise Oxford Dictionary of Archaeology in Oxford Reference.