Friedrich, Bernd Kromer, Michael Friedrich, Jan Heinemeier, Tom Pfeiffer, and Sahra Talamo Science, 28 April 2006: 548 Abstract Full Text PDF Supporting Online Material This article published the results of our recent study to provide the most precise absolute date for great Plinian "Minoan" eruption on Santorini about 4000 years ago available so far, to 1613 -7 years BC.
Bringing a ladder seemed too difficult and risky, so we decided we would try it by standing on each oach other's shoulder. Peter climbed on my shoulder, so his own shoulder was at the height of the hole and he could begin digging away the pumice around the piece of wood, which was falling around me. Peter dug pumice away around the branch as much as he could reach, which took a while.
Finally, we realized that the branch was curved and still stuck deep inside, refusing to get loose.
The pumice fall-out from the first phase of the eruption blanketed the whole of the island, the surrounding sea and islands to the east of Santorini.
In some places, the pumice layer deposited was more than 7 meters in thickness.
The first photo of the site: holes in the basal pumice layer, here about 5 meters thick, where the branches of the tree were. Deep inside one of them, one could barely see wood, too.
This piece was first recovered in July 2007 and brought a wonderful, almost 2 meter long branch back to light, which is now displayed in the new geological museum in Perissa. It is located in the upper caldera cliffs near Athinios harbour.The so-called Minoan eruption can be compared to, but was much stronger stronger than the famous "Plinian" eruption at Vesuvius volcano in Italy, which happened almost 2000 years later, in the year 79 A. near Pompeii - the famous Roman city buried under the pumice of Vesuvius.The Ancient Minoan city excavated near the village of Akrotiri on Santorini is therefores often called the "Pompeii of the Bronze Age", to stress the similarity to Pompeii and its importance for prehistoric archaeology.This alone would not have meant necessarily it came from the tree holes and was 4000 years old, but I lcould peer into one of the larger holes about 2 meters above this spot and one could see a whole cross section of a thick branch!I knew this was a major discovery, which felt as if I had struck a gold mine and somehow unreal.Virtually all vegetation and wood present in man-built structures seems to have been burnt,- despite intense geological, archaeological research, excavations and mining on the island for about 200 years, no significant amounts of preserved wood, organic material or charcoal from the time of the eruption have been recovered (although once found and tragically lost, but this is another story,- read Walter's book...!