One island in the Eastern Mediterranean is Thera, now known as Santorini, and is part of the Cyclades off the cost of Greece. This island was a Minoan colony in the Bronze age.
Between 1645 BC to 1500 BC (theories vary), this island suffered a severe volcanic eruption that destroyed much of it, and sent ash and pumice in the atmosphere, settling on the nearby Island of Crete, and as far as Greenland.
Many theories have been associated with the Thera Eruption, form Plato's Atlantis, to the end of the Minoan civilization, to the column of smoke that guided the Israelites in the Sinai desert. Each theory assumes a certain chronology, or imposes it.
Pumice from Thera has been found from the time of 18th Dynasty of the New Kingdom in Tell El Dab'a (Egypt East of the Delta), although how it got there is a matter of debate: some say it was collected from the sea shore after the eruption, and transported there. Others say that it was mined from Thera later and traded with Egypt.
Presently, a pumice belt exists on the south-eastern Mediterranean coast, and could be related to this eruption. Further study is needed to confirm this.
- An overview in BBC's H2G2
- Another good introductory article on Thera in Wikipedia.
- Tufts Perseus on Akrotiri, Thera
- Princeton Encyclopedia of Classical Sites
- The Minoan Eruption, and more info
- NASA photo of Santorini
- Encyclopedia Britannica article 2001 on Thera
- A Test of Time, a book by Sturt Manning scroll down about midpage for the entry on Thera Pumice.
- The Minoan Eruption of Thera: a Re-examination One eruption, but two collapses? by Jean Faucounau