Location and Perspective in the Theran Flotilla Fresco


  • Thomas F. Strasser Providence College




Flotilla Fresco, Thera, Akrotori, palaeotopography, perspective, depth, Aegean Bronze Age landscapes, miniature wall-paintings


The Flotilla Fresco from Akrotiri on Thera depicts 14 sea craft, with seven large ships seemingly en route between two landmasses. There are, however, strong arguments against the idea of a long-distance voyage, and instead this study supports the concept of a nautical ceremony. By using palaeotopographical research, it is suggested additionally that the fresco depicts a specific setting inside the Theran caldera prior to the Bronze Age eruption; the perspective is from its interior eastern rim, looking west towards the oppositefacing cliffs of the crater’s spits. This interpretation overcomes iconographic difficulties such as the placement of the boats and dolphins above the landmasses and the unique depiction of horizontally bedded rocks around the Departure Town.

Author Biography

Thomas F. Strasser, Providence College

Thomas F. Strasser is Associate Professor in the Department of Art and Art History at Providence College, Providence, Rhode Island. He is currently researching the Stone Ages on southwest Crete. His interests are island archaeology, ancient seafaring and Aegean prehistory.



How to Cite

Strasser, T. F. (2010). Location and Perspective in the Theran Flotilla Fresco. Journal of Mediterranean Archaeology, 23(1), 3–26. https://doi.org/10.1558/jmea.v23i1.3