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Ancient Thera, Sanorini

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Thira is the main island of Santorini, the location of an ancient city. Excavation carried out in 1896 by Baron Hiller indicated that there was some kind of settlement dating back as early as the 9th century BC. However back then little else was known.

After the ancient architecture was excavated more recently, the archeologists discovered more clues to this lost city. The commercial buildings in Thira were constructed of dressed limestone blocks, while residential houses were constructed by using small stones of uneven shapes. As well as the remains of occupants of this city, Thira also contained pottery, architectural designs as well as religious symbols, giving archeologists a fascinating look into the bronze age that wasn’t previously available.

These artifacts found show the economic activities as well as beliefs held by the Thera society. In a nutshell, it can be seen that the society of Thira was organized around craftsmanship as one of its major economic activity. The large amount of pottery indicates that the Theran people were skilled craftsmen. The location of Thera made trade very convenient. It was situated in a place that opened to many trade routes. Among the remains found in the excavated areas were art sculptures. This could be attributed to decline in the pottery materials and as such to maintain their livelihood this society had to turn to plastic as their medium.

The rooms of this ancient society were architectural articulations of wall-paintings symbolizing happy moment in architectural creation . These paintings were an expression of happiness leading to the conclusion that this society existed peacefully. Furthermore, the relationship of that society to the divine was in all probability real. This is so because from these paintings one can observe some of the drawings of their gods. Sculptures of gods strongly suggest that the society had divine inclination. From the paintings it appears that the divine might have permeated everyday life with all its demonstrations, without causing faults or other problems and that is why most of their drawings expressed happiness .

Among these drawings pictures of naked boys can be seen indicating that this society believed in some kind of initiation rite, during which at least one of the actors had to achieve manhood. Thus this society can be said to have believed that citizens had to pass through various stages of initiation until they entered the society of mature men No doubt from the architectural design of their buildings in addition to the wall paintings Thira can be presented to be joyful and peaceful society, as a society which experienced the divine through everyday life and was reconciled with it. It is an honest perception that Thira had a clear belief in the existence of godsThis evidenced from the numerous ceramic artifacts found buried in their cemeteries. Also their indulgence into plastic artifacts leads to the conclusion that their livelihood was purely centered on craftwork and as such had to turn to other raw materials upon extinguishing clay (Doumas, 1978).

From the architectural designs of their buildings in addition to the wall paintings it can be said that the society was notoriously religious, observing some divine and social passages in their life experiences. For instance, among the remains is Terrace of the Festivals that is historically known to have been where boys danced (Sali, 1997) naked to honor Apollo.

Reference*Tessy Sali (1997)”The Wall Paintings of Thera: Proceedings of the First International Symposium”Ancient Thira : The Settlement available at http://www.santonet.gr/archaeology/ancient_thira.htmBingham, Annette (1992) -Thera Revisited The Ongoing Archaeological Dig at Site of Bronze Age City of Akrotiri on the Greek Island of SantoriniC, Doumas(1978) – Thera and the Aegean World I.

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