The prehistoric settlement of Akrotiri is considered among the most important archaeological sites in the Mediterranean. The excavations at Akrotiri have uncovered one of the most important prehistoric settlements of the Aegean. The first habitation at the site dates from the Late Neolithic times (at least the 4th millennium BC).
The large extent of the settlement (ca. 20 hectares), the elaborate drainage system, the sophisticated multi-storeyed buildings with the magnificent wall-paintings, furniture and vessels, show its great development and prosperity.
Evidence of habitation at Akrotiri first came to light in the second half of the 19th century. However, systematic excavations were begun much later, in 1967, by Professor Spyridon Marinatos under the auspices of the Archaeological Society at Athens. He decided to excavate at Akrotiri in the hope of verifying an old theory of his, published in the 1930’s, that the eruption of the Thira volcano was responsible for the collapse of the Minoan civilization. Since his death in 1974, the excavations have been continued under the successful direction of Professor Christos Doumas.