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Location and Perspective in the Theran Flotilla Fresco

Issue: Vol 23 No. 1 (2010)

Journal: Journal of Mediterranean Archaeology

Subject Areas: Ancient History Archaeology

DOI: 10.1558/jmea.v23i1.3


The Flotilla Fresco from Akrotiri on Thera depicts 14 sea craft, with seven large ships seemingly en route between two landmasses. There are, however, strong arguments against the idea of a long-distance voyage, and instead this study supports the concept of a nautical ceremony. By using palaeotopographical research, it is suggested additionally that the fresco depicts a specific setting inside the Theran caldera prior to the Bronze Age eruption; the perspective is from its interior eastern rim, looking west towards the oppositefacing cliffs of the crater’s spits. This interpretation overcomes iconographic difficulties such as the placement of the boats and dolphins above the landmasses and the unique depiction of horizontally bedded rocks around the Departure Town.

Author: Thomas F. Strasser

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