Fears volcanic eruption behind Atlantis legend will happen again after major find

The remains of a boy and a dog at an archaeological site in Çeşme, Turkey have revealed new evidence of the Thera volcano, which triggered the four tsunamis that were central to the ancient legend of Atlantis

The human remains are being excavated (

Image: Credit: Beverly Goodman-Tchernov / Vasif Sahoglu via Pen News)

An ancient volcanic eruption that is believed to have inspired the legend of Atlantis triggered four devastating tsunamis – and experts fear it could happen again.

Scientists excavating a Bronze Age settlement near Çeşme, Turkey, recently found the remains of a boy and a dog dating from around 1600 BC. Were killed in the Thera eruption.

The eruption, which occurred more than 240 miles away, was one of the largest in human history, devastating Thera Island and burying Akrotiri – a Minoan city from the Bronze Age.

It unleashed an explosive force the equivalent of two million Hiroshima-strength atomic bombs, experts believe, and some suggest it inspired the legend of the sunken civilization of Atlantis.

However, history has lost the victims of the disaster, with no remains ever being recovered – until now.

The sobering implications of the discovery were revealed by archaeologists Beverly Goodman-Tchernov of Haifa University, Israel, and Vasıf Şahoğlu of Ankara University, Turkey.

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Archaeologists have found the remains of a dog and boy in one location in Turkey that is believed to have survived after the eruption
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Photo credit: Beverly Goodman-Tchernov / Vasif Sahoglu via Pen News)

“As fascinating as this find is from an academic perspective, our greatest hope is that it will help make the Mediterranean a high-risk area for tsunamis,” they said.

The threat to the Mediterranean is second only to the Pacific Ring of Fire, they added.

“Although countries like Japan have included tsunami education and preparation in their disaster plans, many Mediterranean coasts are unaware of the threat,” they continued.

“Education efforts, practice exercises, information and evacuation signs, and wider public awareness can make the difference between life and death.”

The archaeological site in Turkey
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Photo credit: Vasif Sahoglu via Pen News)

As evidence of the lingering danger, the duo highlighted the Aegean earthquake that killed 119 people in October 2020.

“Unfortunately, like earthquakes, there are challenges in predicting the next event,” they said.

“Only a year ago there was a tsunami in the same region with fatalities.

“The level of warning depends on the source of the tsunami – the closer the cause, the less time for warnings.”

Evidence of the four tsunamis caused by the Thera eruption was found by analyzing layers of debris from which the boy and dog were excavated.

Vasif Sahoglu with the ash layer – Scientists determined that the remains were present at the time of the eruption by analyzing the surrounding layers of sediment
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Photo credit: Beverly Goodman-Tchernov / Vasif Sahoglu via Pen News)

“The remains were found inside the archaeological site in a very well-sealed extermination site,” they said.

“After a large number of different analytical approaches, it was found that this belongs to one of four layers of tsunami rubble with layers of thera ash between them.

“We say that there were at least four distinct tsunami hits that may be related to different phases of the outbreak.”

The thickness of the ash layers also suggests that the tsunamis may have been hours or even days apart – enough time to re-tempt potential rescuers.

The ash layer – the study concluded that four different tsunamis occurred at four different times during the eruption
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Photo credit: Beverly Goodman-Tchernov via Pen News)

“If we look at the window of time between incursions, the shortest was between the first and second tsunami,” said the archaeologists.

“After every tsunami there was a longer pause than before.

“During these pauses there is evidence that people searched and removed survivors and victims.

“This brings to light the sensitive and painful reality of the event and reflects an experience that we can relate to and recognize from recent catastrophic events.”

The excavation site can be seen in the foreground with the Turkish coast in the background
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Photo credit: Vasif Sahoglu via Pen News)

The size of the waves that reached the doomed boy and dog is uncertain, but they must have been at least 5 meters high.

“We can’t say much, but due to the thickness of the deposits, we can assume that the waves were very significant, certainly over five meters high,” said Goodman-Tchernov and Şahoğlu.

“This discovery provides physical evidence that the impact of the event on the region was far-reaching and extreme,” they continued.

“It also provides the first remains of a human victim [of the eruption] ever made available for analysis and study.

“This teenager gives us a first glimpse into the individual experience at the time of the outbreak.”

Thera is known today as Santorini, a modern mecca for tourists visiting Greece.

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