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Spyridon Marinatos

Spyridon Marinatos
Born (1901-11-04)November 4, 1901
Lixoúrion, Cephalonia, Greece
Died October 1, 1974(1974-10-01) (aged 72)
Santorini, Greece
Residence Athens
Nationality Greece
Fields Archaeology
Known for Santorini excavation and his theory on the volcanic destruction of Minoan Crete

Spyridon Nikolaou Marinatos (Greek: Σπυρίδων Νικολάου Μαρινάτος; November 4, 1901 – October 1, 1974) was a Greek archaeologist.


  • Career 1
  • Politics 2
  • Books 3
  • Archaeological sites 4
  • See also 5
  • References 6
  • External links 7


Marinatos began his career in Crete as director of the Arthur Evans. He conducted several excavations on Crete at Dreros, Arkalochori, Vathypetro and Gazi, all of which resulted in spectacular finds. In 1937, he became director of the Antiquities service in Greece for the first time. Shortly afterwards, he became professor at the University of Athens. He turned his attention to the Mycenaeans next, regarding them as the first Greeks. He excavated many Mycenaean sites in the Peloponnese, including an unplundered royal tomb at Routsi, near Pylos. He also dug at Thermopylae and Marathon uncovering the sites where the famous battles had occurred.

The grave of Spyridon Marinatos at the excavation site of Akrotiri on Santorini

His most notable discovery was the site of Akrotiri, a Minoan port city on the island of Thera. The city was destroyed by a massive eruption which buried it under ashes and pumice. The tsunamis created by the eruption destroyed coastal settlements on Crete as well. Guided by the local Nikos Pelekis, Marinatos began excavations in 1967 and died at the site in 1974, after suffering a massive stroke. According to another version, he died during the excavation as he was hit by a collapsing wall.[1]


He was director-general of antiquities for the Greek Ministry of Culture during the Greek military junta of 1967–74 (


His Crete and Mycenae was originally published in German in 1960.[2] His most important article was about "the volcanic destruction of Minoan Crete" [Antiquity 1939]. His excavations at Thera have been published in six slender volumes (1968–74). "Life and Art in Prehistoric Thera" was one of his last publications in 1972.[3]

His name is mentioned in the video game Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis, which also features a plot involving Thera and the legendary underwater lost city.

Archaeological sites

Marinatos was responsible for excavations at:

See also


  1. ^ The Excavation of Akrotiri
  2. ^ Kreta und das Mykenische Hellas ( Spyridon Marinatos, 1960.
  3. ^ Proceedings of the British Academy, Vol. 57 (1972)

External links

  • Archaeological site of Akrotiri Thera:
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