The Museum of Prehistoric Thera houses finds from the excavations at Akrtotiri,
conducted under the auspices of the Archaeological Society at Athens,
the German Archaeological Institute excavations at
Potamos, the rescue excavations at various other sites on the island, carried out by
the 21st Ephorate of Prehistoric and Classical Antiquities, as well as objects discovered
fortuitously or handed over.
The exhibition is structured in four units, referring to the history of research at Thera, the geology of Thera, the island's history from the Late Neolithic to
the Late Cycladic I period (early 17th century BC) and the heyday of the city at Akrotiri (Late Cycladic I period, 17th century BC). In the last unit, in particular, various
aspects are presented, such as the plan and architecture of the city and its organization as an urban centre, the emergent bureaucratic system, the development of
the monumental art of wall-painting, the rich and diverse pottery repertoire, the elegant jewellery, the reciprocal influences between vase-painting and wall-painting,
and the city's and the island's complex network of contacts with the outside - especially the Aegean - world.
The exhibits include fossils of plants that flourished before the human habitation of Thera and archaeological objects. The latter include Neolithic pottery,
Early Cycladic marble figurines, pottery and metal artefacts, Middle Cycladic pottery with a series of impressive bird jugs, many of them decorated with swallows, from
Ftellos, Megalochori and Akrotiri (20th-18th century BC).
Noteworthy among the numerous exhibits from the period when the city at Akrotiri was at its peak (17th century BC) are the
casts of furniture,
the household equipment, the bronze vessels, tools and weapons that bear witness to the practice of metalworking, the sealings, seals and Linear A tablets.
Impressive too are the magnificent wall-painting ensembles,
with their rich naturalistic repertoire, such as the "Ladies and Papyri"
or the "Blue Monkeys".
Last, there are numerous and luxurious clay vases including the remarkable pithos with the bull, vases of stone and of clay imported from different parts
of the Aegean and the Eastern Mediterranean, and the
gold ibex figurine,
a remarkable recent find.
The exhibition endeavours to sketch the course of Thera in prehistoric times, through selected finds from the thousands in the storerooms. This was a
dynamic and creative course which established the city at Akrotiri as one of the most important Aegean centres during the 18th and 17th centuries BC.