Documenting ancient Akrotiri

Excavations at the archaeological site of Akrotiri on the island of Thera/Santorini (Greece) have revealed a unique Bronze Age town including three story houses. The Bronze Age settlement of Akrotiri had been buried under thick layers of volcanic ash and pumice by the Minoan eruption of the Thera volcano in approximately 1624 BC. Akrotiri is a Greek Bronze Age Pompeii threatened by destruction through earthquakes in one of the world’s most seismological regions.

For safekeeping of this important cultural heritage site for future generations we have proposed and conducted its digital documentation using high-resolution laser scanning and latest image based 3D modeling. The goal of this project has been to generate a photorealistic detailed digital copy of the excavated archaeological site, which could be of great, possibly invaluable, benefit for scientific research and the public alike. In addition it is planned to conduct ground penetrating radar surveys for the non-destructive mapping of so far uncharted archaeological structures at Akrotiri in a time and cost efficient manner and without exposing them to the risk of destruction.

The project is conducted by the Ludwig Boltzmann Institute for Archaeological Prospection and Virtual Archaeology (LBI ArchPro) in collaboration with the director of excavations, Prof. Christos Doumas (National and Kapodistrian University of Athens; The Archaeological Society of Athens), Excavation Assistant Prof. Andreas Vlachopoulos (University of Ioannina), Excavation Architect Prof. Clairy Palyvou (Aristotle University of Thessaloniki) and Virtual Archaeology expert Prof. Maurizio Forte and the Duke Dig@Lab team (Duke University, NC).

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