Prehistoric Thera Museum
The Museum of Prehistoric Thera houses extraordinary finds excavated mainly from Akrotiri as well as finds from various other archaeological sites on the island. Some of the pieces date back several thousand years and offer insight into early human life on the Greek Island, making this an interesting place to check out if you're keen to learning more about the island's history. It's worth visiting this museum first, before heading out to Ancient Akrotiri.
This spectacular museum is one of the most important museums of Greece. It is located in the heart of the island’s capital, Fira and is housed in a two-story building that opened to the public in 2000. The initiative to establish a museum belongs to the Greek archeologist, Spyridon Marinatos, in charge of the excavations in the archaeological site of Akrotiri, in order to house the valuable finds that came to light from this major urban center. Akrotiri, on Santorini’s southwest tip, was destroyed in a 16th-century BC volcanic eruption that occurred after a big earthquake, and was buried in ash. The volcanic ash preserved what remained of the frescoes, many objects, and artwork and even today, most of them are kept in excellent condition.
The exhibition is laid out in four units, focused on the history of the excavations in Thera, the geology, the island's history from the Late Neolithic to the Late Cycladic I period (early 17th century B.C.) and the heyday of the city at Akrotiri (mature Late Cycladic I period, 17th century B.C.). The collections are ordered chronologically, and include ceramics, tools, utensils, sculptures, jewelry, wall paintings, and ritual objects. Among the earliest pieces are Neolithic pottery, Early Cycladic marble figurines, Early Cycladic pottery, Middle Cycladic pottery with a series of impressive bird jugs and Early Cycladic metal artefacts. The exhibits also include fossils of plants that flourished on the island before the human habitation of Thera and magnificent colorful wall paintings (frescoes), depicting women in Minoan dress, boxing boys, a boy with fish, blue monkeys and floral motifs.