Expansion and effects of the tephra fall on the island of Rhodes 

The abandonment of the Late Bronze Age IA town and changes in the previously flourishing society

Webinar by Toula Marketou

MAY 11, 2023 at 5 pm (Brussels UTC+1)

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The so far undertaken excavations at Ialysos have changed our previous picture of the Bronze Age Rhodes and provided rich evidence for the expansion and the character of the LBA IA town, one of the largest and most flourishing towns of the Aegean. The valuable stratigraphy, which has been revealed below thick alluvial deposits, brought to light a ‘corpus’ of detailed information concerning the successive layers of occupation since the MBA to the beginning of LBA IIIB1, the phase of the final abandonment of Ialysos.

The most diagnostic, however, layer, which sealed forever the ruined buildings of the mature LBA IA town is the tephra layer, which was brought on Rhodes by the blowing strong NW winds from the island of Thera.  With its thickness varying of an average in between ten centimeter to one meter, the Theran tephra covered many locations of the prehistoric town, as well as surrounding areas at least up to the village of Paradeisi, near the airport of the island, to the west and on the east side of the island, and further south to the dam of Apollakia. The presentation of all the locations of the island, where the volcano tephra was found, the average thickness and the depth where the tephra was found in situ and  the finds below the tephra, pebbles, sand or other admixtures above the tephra layers provide a complete picture of both the expansion and the effects of its sudden fall on the land of Rhodes.

On the other hand, changes in the town-planning and the shrinkage of the town of Ialysos, as well as probable movements of people and the explanation of the cemetery near the shoreline of the settlement, show the effects of the impact of the tephra fall on Ialysos and the surrounding areas.