In the vicinity of the Turkish city of Cesme, archaeologists have found traces of an ancient settlement, which was destroyed by the tsunami that arose from the explosion of a volcano on the island of Santorini at the end of the Bronze Age. This discovery speaks of the unusually wide scale of the consequences of this disaster, scientists write in an article in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
“Our excavations have shown that the Santorini disaster, 230 km off the coast of Cesme, destroyed this thriving coastal settlement. This cataclysm not only destroyed homes and claimed the lives of many local residents, but also covered the harbor and all coastal structures in large numbers debris, which made them unusable for a very long time, “the scientists write.
The most famous disaster of antiquity occurred at the end of the 17th century BC on the island of Santorini, which at that time was part of the larger island of Thira. It collapsed in 1610 BC as a result of the explosion of a supervolcano, which led to the formation of a cavity several hundred meters deep and 133 km3 in volume, which was almost immediately filled with sea waters.
The result was a gigantic tsunami that flooded neighboring Crete, and debris of volcanic rocks and ash were thrown over a huge distance. All this, according to historians, led to a sharp decline in the Cretan-Minoan civilization, influenced the well-being of the inhabitants of Ancient Egypt and a number of other Mediterranean countries, and also gave rise to the legend of Atlantis.
Archaeologists under the leadership of Associate Professor at the University of Haifa (Israel) Beverly Goodman-Chernova discovered traces of this disaster off the coast of the modern Turkish city of Cesme, located at a great distance from Santorini. Earlier, archaeologists have already found traces of ash, tsunami waves and volcanic ejections on the shores of the Aegean Sea, but they could not find traces that this disaster negatively affected the lives of ancient people.
This gave rise to a lot of controversy among historians about the impact of this event on the history of civilization. Goodman-Chernova and her colleagues took a big step towards resolving these disputes during excavations in the vicinity of the modern Turkish city of Cesme, where a large trading port was located in antiquity. Recently, scientists have found on its territory deposits of sedimentary rocks of the Minoan era with an extremely unusual composition.
They contained shells, corals and boulders thrown out by three different tsunami waves, particles of volcanic ash, tools, ruins of buildings, as well as the bones of animals and people who died during that cataclysm. Subsequent isotopic and chemical analysis of the ash showed that it is identical in composition to the ejections of the supervolcano from Santorini Island. This suggests that the cataclysm destroyed not only civilization on the island of Crete, but also a settlement in Asia Minor, located 230 km northeast of Santorini.
The subsequent study of the remains of people and animals, scientists hope, will help them uncover the reasons for their death and understand why this part of the harbor was subsequently abandoned by local residents and remained deserted for at least a century. Now archaeologists suggest that this is due to the fact that the triple impact of the tsunami changed the local landscape so much that all coastal zones became dangerous for mooring ships or simply unsuitable for human life.