The large eruption of the Santorini (Thera) volcano, in ∼1500 BC, inspired Marinatos to attribute the decline of the Minoan civilization to this eruption1. It is still, however, being debated2,3 whether tsunamis were actually generated by the eruption of the volcano and whether the ash fall over eastern Crete was sufficient to cause its archaeologically attested desolation. Moreover, the problem of chronology remains unsolved. For, although there is no evidence that the eruption occurred after 1500 BC, the desolation of Crete is accepted as having taken place during the late Minoan IB period, at ∼1450 BC (ref. 4). We describe here recent excavations at lalysos (Trianda) on Rhodes which have produced further evidence of the southeasterly distribution of the Thera tephra. Although a considerable amount of this tephra has been found there, this does not seem to have affected the continuity of life at the settlement, corroborating the view that the ash fall over Crete would have had little, if any, effect.
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