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Akrotiri Flotilla really an evacuation?


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#1    The Puzzler

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Posted 03 August 2013 - 04:08 AM

Maybe I'm just really bored, but I was staring at the Akrotiri painting for a bit too long and started to see that it looked like it could actually be a depiction of an evacuation from Thera, rather than a procession or such. I also noticed that Thera? had a large canal going around it, with a river to the mountains, like Atlantis description but I won't dwell on that now.

So I thought I'd see if anyone had anything interesting to say on whether they thought this could be an evacuation scene at all...it might be something that would be painted too.

Posted Image

Get the full resolution: http://en.wikipedia....FULL_PANO-3.jpg

Firstly the island which might be Thera, the one that looks RED, could be on fire? Maybe that's lava and fire in the background and the animals are running because they are fleeing...
Why is it so red? I've seen a lesser coloured version and it still looks quite red.

Then, they are leaving that island, no one appears to be sailing in that direction.

The island that might be Crete, with the ladies in the towers, seems to have many people on the dock area as they are being received from Thera. They are all looking at the boats coming in and towards Thera, which they probably would do if it was erupting. They could be just arriving but what says they are not actually evacuees being taken onshore?

Now, also, the evidence on Thera points to an evacuation from the island.


Only a single gold object has been found, hidden beneath flooring, and no uninterred human skeletal remains have been found. This indicates that an orderly evacuation was performed with little or no loss of life.
http://en.wikipedia....tiri_(Santorini)


Edited by The Puzzler, 03 August 2013 - 04:10 AM.

In an mmm bop it's gone...

#2    blackdogsun

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Posted 03 August 2013 - 05:48 AM

interesting thought puzzler
its possible that it could be a depiction of an evacuation
of course it wouldn't be of the great eruption that destroyed the island but rather a minor one some time before.
by the looks of the relaxed nature of the people in the boat, if it is an evacuation scene, it would seem to indicate that it was rather a routine affair in the daily lives of folks living with a volcano.


#3    The Puzzler

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Posted 03 August 2013 - 07:07 AM

View Postblackdogsun, on 03 August 2013 - 05:48 AM, said:

interesting thought puzzler
its possible that it could be a depiction of an evacuation
of course it wouldn't be of the great eruption that destroyed the island but rather a minor one some time before.
by the looks of the relaxed nature of the people in the boat, if it is an evacuation scene, it would seem to indicate that it was rather a routine affair in the daily lives of folks living with a volcano.
Thanks for thinking about it some more, yes, I thought it might be showing it as quite routine but I probably wouldn't expect to see any sort of chaos if everyone was evacuated in time, as archaeology shows they were, no real panic should have been necessary.
Why do you think it would not be the great eruption being depicted?

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#4    blackdogsun

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Posted 03 August 2013 - 08:18 AM

as the frieze is from the remains of a building in Akrotiri, on the island of Thera itself, which was completely buried beneath meters of ash by the great eruption (and only excavated in recent times at the site) then it just stands to reason that it must depict an event (whether an evacuation or not) prior to its burial.
if it does depict an evacuation scene from the island, perhaps because of seismic activity, then it is reasonable to assume that it was not severe enough that they were able to return and take up residency again some time after the event. unlike the aftermath of the great eruption.


#5    Tutankhaten-pasheri

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Posted 03 August 2013 - 09:01 AM

@ The Puzzler
Interesting idea, though the scenes look too peaceful to me. I can certainly see what you mean about the shape of the island looking slightly how Thera may have looked before the eruption, and all the boats are heading in one direction, people seemingly lined up for some reason etc. If there was any clear depiction of disaster taking place I think you would have a strong point, but I think that while it does show an ancient event, it is probably not the Thera eruption. However, after saying that, I rather wish it was.

Edit to add that the animals seen running seem to have a predator chasing them. Looks like a big cat, but I would think there were no big cats on Thera, unless introduced for some purpose...

Edited by Tutankhaten-pasheri, 03 August 2013 - 09:47 AM.


#6    docyabut2

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Posted 03 August 2013 - 09:57 AM

View PostThe Puzzler, on 03 August 2013 - 04:08 AM, said:

Maybe I'm just really bored, but I was staring at the Akrotiri painting for a bit too long and started to see that it looked like it could actually be a depiction of an evacuation from Thera, rather than a procession or such. I also noticed that Thera? had a large canal going around it, with a river to the mountains, like Atlantis description but I won't dwell on that now.

So I thought I'd see if anyone had anything interesting to say on whether they thought this could be an evacuation scene at all...it might be something that would be painted too.

Posted Image

Get the full resolution: http://en.wikipedia....FULL_PANO-3.jpg

Firstly the island which might be Thera, the one that looks RED, could be on fire? Maybe that's lava and fire in the background and the animals are running because they are fleeing...
Why is it so red? I've seen a lesser coloured version and it still looks quite red.

Then, they are leaving that island, no one appears to be sailing in that direction.

The island that might be Crete, with the ladies in the towers, seems to have many people on the dock area as they are being received from Thera. They are all looking at the boats coming in and towards Thera, which they probably would do if it was erupting. They could be just arriving but what says they are not actually evacuees being taken onshore?

Now, also, the evidence on Thera points to an evacuation from the island.


Only a single gold object has been found, hidden beneath flooring, and no uninterred human skeletal remains have been found. This indicates that an orderly evacuation was performed with little or no loss of life.
http://en.wikipedia....tiri_(Santorini)



Good eye Puzzler:) even the dolpins seem to be fleeing or headed that way.


#7    The Puzzler

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Posted 03 August 2013 - 11:28 AM

View Postblackdogsun, on 03 August 2013 - 08:18 AM, said:

as the frieze is from the remains of a building in Akrotiri, on the island of Thera itself, which was completely buried beneath meters of ash by the great eruption (and only excavated in recent times at the site) then it just stands to reason that it must depict an event (whether an evacuation or not) prior to its burial.
if it does depict an evacuation scene from the island, perhaps because of seismic activity, then it is reasonable to assume that it was not severe enough that they were able to return and take up residency again some time after the event. unlike the aftermath of the great eruption.
OK, fair enough. I'm thinking this evacuation was conducted prior to the actual eruption but after several smaller ones, seismic earthquakes, that left lava flow and started fires - they knew it was time to prepare to go, maybe a week or 2 later Thera completely erupted for example - the time would have allowed someone to paint the frieze as the evacuation event occurred, then they left too - then the big eruption occurred and it was covered.
I'm also thinking this might be the evacuation of the royal family or VIP's and hence the seemingly more decorated boats - if they are decorated at all and not a regular kind that travelled the Aegean and another reason to have actually painted the frieze.

In an mmm bop it's gone...

#8    blackdogsun

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Posted 03 August 2013 - 01:41 PM

i've read that it is thought that the city and island to the right of the frieze is Knossos and Crete, as apparently some of the architectural features resemble the palace of Knossos as it is thought to have looked, judging from the ruins we see there today. the vessels though, at first glance, don't actually seem to be of a design meant for a lengthy sea voyage of 150 kilometers or so to Crete, but rather to ferry passengers across a small straight.
so i'm wondering, because of the lightness of design of the vessels, whether they are actually making for the islands close at hand to the north, where there may have been other minoan communities, rather than the longer voyage to Crete.
having said that though there are a great many oars protruding from the hulls of what seem to be small vessels, in comparison with the size of the passengers. so could what we are see here be a stylized representation of quite large galleys with the passengers being over scaled so as to see their faces.  (?)


#9    Tutankhaten-pasheri

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Posted 03 August 2013 - 01:58 PM

I think correct that all the vessels except on the far left, only show the oars and not the rowers, presumably so they are not in the way of showing what are clearly the ruling class. I think, like AE depictions of boats, that they are reasonably to scale, with some important people shown a bit larger than life. Looking at these boats they are somewhat similar in type to AE ones, and do not look like sea going vessels, though without a single example we can't be sure. The large boat at the middle top looks to be decorated for a festival, not an emergency situation. But this entire picture shows elements that can be seen as either evacuation or water festival. I rather move to position that it shows an important civic/religious event.


#10    docyabut2

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Posted 04 August 2013 - 08:22 AM

Akroteri, a Minoan city on the south part of Thera, is being excavated. About 3-6 feet (1-2 m) of ash fell on the city which had a population of about 30,000. The residents appear to have been successfully evacuated prior to the eruption. No bodies have been found in the ash like those at Vesuvius. Archeologists also reported that movable objects had been taken from the city.

The picture must have been painted of the evacuation, just before the great eruption, the one boat looks like its carring a big load of items.


Edited by docyabut2, 04 August 2013 - 08:29 AM.


#11    Tutankhaten-pasheri

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Posted 04 August 2013 - 08:37 AM

View Postdocyabut2, on 04 August 2013 - 08:22 AM, said:

Akroteri, a Minoan city on the south part of Thera, is being excavated. About 3-6 feet (1-2 m) of ash fell on the city which had a population of about 30,000. The residents appear to have been successfully evacuated prior to the eruption. No bodies have been found in the ash like those at Vesuvius. Archeologists also reported that movable objects had been taken from the city.

The picture must have been painted of the evacuation, just before the great eruption, the one boat looks like its carring a big load of items.

I certainly like the idea that this does show an evacuation. Though on the lack of bodies, well, it may be too soon to say. Remember that at Herculaneum it was thought for a long time that the people managed to evacuate, then the warehouses on the old coastline were found, and all the bodies....

Edited by Tutankhaten-pasheri, 04 August 2013 - 08:37 AM.


#12    The Puzzler

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Posted 04 August 2013 - 03:10 PM

View Postdocyabut2, on 03 August 2013 - 09:57 AM, said:

Good eye Puzzler:) even the dolpins seem to be fleeing or headed that way.
Yes, they do :tu:

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#13    The Puzzler

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Posted 04 August 2013 - 03:17 PM

View PostTutankhaten-pasheri, on 03 August 2013 - 01:58 PM, said:

I think correct that all the vessels except on the far left, only show the oars and not the rowers, presumably so they are not in the way of showing what are clearly the ruling class. I think, like AE depictions of boats, that they are reasonably to scale, with some important people shown a bit larger than life. Looking at these boats they are somewhat similar in type to AE ones, and do not look like sea going vessels, though without a single example we can't be sure. The large boat at the middle top looks to be decorated for a festival, not an emergency situation. But this entire picture shows elements that can be seen as either evacuation or water festival. I rather move to position that it shows an important civic/religious event.
I wonder what the event might be. I thought of that as it's said to be basically that - but I don't really see anything on Crete? that indicates a festival or such is taking place...

The two ladies/queens in the tower (with another possible three) is intriguing to me though. Something of importance must be happening.

In an mmm bop it's gone...

#14    The Puzzler

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Posted 04 August 2013 - 03:22 PM

View Postdocyabut2, on 04 August 2013 - 08:22 AM, said:

Akroteri, a Minoan city on the south part of Thera, is being excavated. About 3-6 feet (1-2 m) of ash fell on the city which had a population of about 30,000. The residents appear to have been successfully evacuated prior to the eruption. No bodies have been found in the ash like those at Vesuvius. Archeologists also reported that movable objects had been taken from the city.

The picture must have been painted of the evacuation, just before the great eruption, the one boat looks like its carring a big load of items.

The boat with only 2 rowers (standing) and birds on the hull looks to have something on board, like a big wooden crate? That boat is totally different to the others.
Only the largest boat is decorated really (with strung decoration), another one has a lesser strung decoration though, which means there might only be one important, decorated boat - which might not indicate such a festival atmosphere afterall...

Edited by The Puzzler, 04 August 2013 - 03:25 PM.

In an mmm bop it's gone...

#15    The Puzzler

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Posted 04 August 2013 - 03:27 PM

View PostTutankhaten-pasheri, on 04 August 2013 - 08:37 AM, said:

I certainly like the idea that this does show an evacuation. Though on the lack of bodies, well, it may be too soon to say. Remember that at Herculaneum it was thought for a long time that the people managed to evacuate, then the warehouses on the old coastline were found, and all the bodies....
True, but as it stands now this seems to be the evidence, that an evacuation took place. Earthquakes must have abounded prior imo and plenty of warning given by the smoking pre-eruptions. I do have a National Geographic magazine that says possibly a priest and human sacrifice was found, under a crumbled building. I'll see if I can Google something.

Here we are, article from 1981 so I'm not sure how much the article stands up nowadays and it's Crete not Thera, still interesting though  http://www.kythera-f...bruary 1981.pdf

Edited by The Puzzler, 04 August 2013 - 03:33 PM.

In an mmm bop it's gone...




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