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Marble figurine of a woman is among a treasure trove of 3,600-year-old artefacts found preserved in ash on a Greek island known as the ‘Minoan Pompeii’
- A collection of rare artefacts has been found on the Greek island of Santorini
- Experts uncovered two small marble jars, a marble vial and an alabaster vase
- The find sheds new light on the beliefs of the msyterious Theran society
- The group was wiped out by a huge volcanic eruption around 3,600 years ago
A 3,600-year-old marble figurine of a woman is among a treasure trove of artefacts found in a prehistoric village on the Greek island of Santorini.
Archaeologists also found two small marble jars, a marble vial and an alabaster vase inside rectangular clay chests within an ancient settlement.
They said the finds shed new light on the beliefs of the Theran society – a mysterious group that scientists know little about as they had no written language.
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A 3,600-year-old marble figurine of a woman (pictured) is among a treasure trove of artefacts found in a prehistoric village on the Greek island of Santorini
The discovery was made by experts at the Greek culture ministry in the prehistoric village of Akrotiri – known locally as the ‘Minoan Pompeii’.
The large settlement was destroyed around the year 1628 BC in a catastrophic volcanic eruption on the island, which in Ancient Greek was known as Thera.
Thick layers of ash from the explosion preserved the remains of many frescoes, objects and artworks in Akrotiri.
The new finds include a number of different marble artefacts that were likely used for religious or other symbolic rituals, archaeologists said.
They shed fresh light on the prehistoric Theran society, which scientists believe was killed off during Santorini’s 16th Century BC eruption.
‘These finds are undoubtedly linked to the views and beliefs of Theran society,’ the Greek culture ministry said.
Archaeologists also found two small marble jars, a marble vial and an alabaster vase inside rectangular clay chests within an ancient building
WHO WERE THE MINOANS?
The Minoan civilisation arose on the Mediterranean island of Crete in approximately 2600BC and flourished for 12 centuries until around 1400BC.
The origins of the Minoan and Mycenaean peoples have puzzled archaeologists for more than 100 years.
Last year it was revealed that the Minoans and Mycenaens were descended from early Neolithic farmers who migrated from Anatolia to Greece and Crete.
Modern Greeks, in turn, are largely descendants of the Mycenaeans, the study found.
Experts from the University of Washington, the Harvard Medical School and the Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History, together with archaeologists and other collaborators in Greece and Turkey, gathered data from the region.
The results showed that Minoans and Mycenaeans were genetically highly similar, but not identical.
The early Neolithic farmers they descended from likely migrated thousands of years prior to the Bronze Age from Anatolia.
While both Minoans and Mycenaeans had both ‘first farmer’ and ‘eastern’ genetic origins, Mycenaeans traced an additional minor component of their ancestry to ancient inhabitants of Eastern Europe and northern Eurasia.
Back in 2013 it was revealed that weapons that dominated Europe for more than 3,000 years were introduced by the ancient Minoan civilisation.
Swords, metal battle axes, long bladed spears, shields and possibly even armour were brought to Europe by the Minoans who ruled Crete.
Since towns and palaces in Crete, the home of the mythical Minotaur, were first dug up and studied a century ago the Minoans have been widely regarded by archaeologists as an essentially peaceful people.
But a reassessment of the role of warriors and weapons in Ancient Crete, which was at its peak from 1900BC to 1300BC, now concludes that the Minoans were a violent and warlike people.
‘They provide a stimulus for a new interpretive drive on fundamental questions about the ideology and possibly the religion of prehistoric Aegean society.’
Just like the Roman-era remains in Pompeii and Herculaneum, Akrotiri is a goldmine for researchers.
This is because much of the settlement became preserved for the ages by solidified volcanic ash.
Pictured are marble and clay pots and other artefacts uncovered as part of the new study. The discovery was made by experts at the Greek culture ministry in the prehistoric village of Akrotiri – known locally as the ‘Minoan Pompeii’
The Late Bronze Age eruption devastated many nearby islands and is commonly believed to have triggered the downfall of the once-dominant Minoan civilisation.
It is thought the group, based on the neighbouring island of Crete, fell due to the desolating earthquakes and tsunamis that followed.
Akrotiri has been suggested by several experts as a likely candidate to represent the fictional island of Atlantis mentioned in Plato’s works.
3,600-year-old marble figurine is among a treasure trove of artefacts found in a prehistoric village