The Thera Foundation

The Miniature Frieze, a 16-inch-high continuous fresco painting, ran almost 40 feet around three walls of the West House in Akrotiri, on the island of Thera (modern Santorini). In 1638 B.C., much of Thera was destroyed by a huge volcanic eruption. Once the thick layer of ash was removed from houses in Akrotiri, some of the greatest Minoan works of art were revealed—including the Miniature Frieze, which shows a number of sea scenes. Running (like a frieze) through this article is a 13-foot-long, partially restored portion of the frieze, which in ancient times adorned the West House’s south wall (compare with sections two and three of the Miniature Frieze). Called the Waterborne Procession, this fresco shows a journey from one seaport to another—perhaps a journey from Thera to Anatolia, or a journey between two Aegean islands.