Museum: Museum of Prehistoric Thira
Date: 2000-1700 BCE
Location of find: Akrotiri
This is a plaster cast of a table found in the Minoan town of Akrotiri.
Akrotiri is found on the modern day island of Santorini. When a volcano erupted on the island, between 1627 BCE and 1600 BCE, the town was quickly buried under volcanic ash, preserving the houses and interior possessions. The ash would have surrounded this table and hardened as it cooled. The wood rotted away as normal, but left its impression in the now hard ash. This enabled excavators to pour plaster into the hole and reveal how the original table looked. It is a wonderful opportunity to see what otherwise would have been lost to posterity.
‘Table’ in Ancient Greek is trepeza which is probably a contraction of tetra-peza, or four legged. Trepeza is also the word for bank. This is because, initially, banks were tables set up outside where a money-changer would sit, exchanging different kinds of money for a fee (agio), and paying back with interest loans or deposits.
This table would have more likely been used for the serving of food. It only has three legs as the floor in the house would have been uneven and this might help the table be less wobbly.