On the south coast of Santorini where there is the last of the five “kastelia”, also known as “kasteli of Punda” a great archaeological sight is located. The excavation started in 1967 by the most important archaeologist Sp. Marinatos and revealed a whole prehistoric city. The impressive findings prove that an organized “urban” society in the Aegean Sea in the second millennium BC existed. The use of writing (Linear A) , the elaborate wall paintings, the city infrastructure, the standardization of measures, the multiple financial activities, the commercial relationships with other parts of the Mediterranean, the allocation of work and the technical specialization are all proof of a prosperous civilization that was unfortunately destroyed by the great eruption around 1650 BC.
Due to the fact that no human remains were found, it seems that the volcano had already “warned” for its becoming active by earthquakes. Thus, the prehistoric residents of Akrotiri managed to abandon their settlement. On the other hand, the volcanic ash which covered everything, helped in the preservation of roads, houses, pottery and wall paintings. The excavation area covers 10, 000 square meters and is thought to represent only 1/10 of the original settlement.
In the remains of ancient Thira excavated by German archaeologists, there were found graves and inscriptions that prove it was the capital of the ancient Dorians settlers in the 9th century BC. During the 8th century BC a hero from Thiva called Thiras left Sparti where he used to live and with a group of nobles they settled in Santorini. Afterwards, the island was given his name. Herodotus wrote that Santorini had 7 different cities and was ruled by king Grinias.