Eruption of Thera/Santorini

Sturt W. Manning

in The Oxford Handbook of the Bronze Age Aegean

Published in print January 2012 | ISBN: 9780199873609
Published online September 2012 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks in Archaeology

Eruption of Thera/Santorini

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  • Classical Studies
  • Ancient Greek History
  • Greek and Roman Archaeology



One especially dramatic type of archaeological moment, or short-lived horizon, occurs when a large volcanic eruption devastates a region. A world is, tragically, captured (entombed, frozen) forever at a specific time—in toto. The most famous example is the eruption of Vesuvius in ad seventy-nine. Although this catastrophe extinguished and entombed Pompeii and Herculaneum, it has provided archaeology with an unparalleled set of evidence. The prehistoric “Pompeii” of the Aegean world is the horizon of time sealed by the great eruption of the Thera/Santorini volcano in the Aegean in the mid-second millennium bc. This eruption entombed a thriving city with international links, laid down a clear marker horizon across much of the southern and eastern Aegean, western Anatolia, and some of the East Mediterranean. This article discusses when this important eruption occurred and begins with what is agreed and then moves on to what is debated and why.

Keywords: volcanic eruption; Vesuvius; Pompeii; Herculaneum; Thera; Santorini; volcano

Article.  8897 words. 

Subjects: Classical Studies ; Ancient Greek History ; Greek and Roman Archaeology

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