Radiocarbon dating of the Late Cycladic building and destruction phases at Akrotiri, Thera: New evidence
Laboratory of Archaeometry, Institute of Materials Science, National Centre for Scientific Research “Demokritos”, 153 10 Aghia Paraskevi, Attiki, Greece
Accepted: 12 December 2011
Published online: 25 January 2012
Akrotiri was a flourishing prehistoric settlement on the Cycladic island of Santorini (Thera) until its life was ended by a huge volcanic eruption in the LCI period. There is much debate as to when this final destruction occurred. Based on the Egyptian historical dating this happened around 1540-1530 BC, while, based on radiocarbon and other scientific data, around 1640-1600 BC. This work is an attempt to date with radiocarbon the whole settlement’s life starting from the earlier phases of occupation but focusing in the sequence of the latest events. The samples, coming from the deep shafts dug in the site for the pillars of the new shelter, are pieces of wood and charcoal from house architectural elements and other constructions, including the final earthquake victims temporary camps. Therefore, the dates obtained represent the beginning of the different cultural phases plus the latest events. The results provide novel absolute dates for the commencement of the LMC and LCI Phases at Akrotiri, giving mean ranges around 1820-1790 BC and 1775-1722 BC, respectively, while the final destruction is dated around 1622-1548 BC. These results show that the LCI phase started about 100 years earlier than estimated with the Egyptian Historical chronology while the final destruction around 60 years or less earlier.
© Società Italiana di Fisica and Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg, 2012