Akrotiri at the mercy of the elements since collapse of the shelter last month

Inspectors appointed by the Naxos public prosecutor’s office to investigate the collapse of a shelter over the Akrotiri archaeological site on September 23, in which a British tourist was killed, have been sworn in and are expected to begin work at the site early next week. According to sources, the ancient settlement, destroyed in antiquity during an eruption of the Santorini volcano, will reopen very soon for archaeologists and other experts who have been waiting for weeks. But they will have to apply in writing to the Naxos prosecutor and must be accompanied by an inspector at all times while on the site. Approval is also expected to be given for the construction of a provisional shelter to be erected in place of the section that collapsed, in order to provide protection from the elements. According to sources, a channel gouged out by the downpour on September 23 has been funneling water right into the midst of the monuments, threatening them with collapse since the plinths on which the ancient settlement was built is shaky. That is why the site had never been left open to the weather. Yesterday the Culture Ministry’s team of experts met to examine the evidence available on the events leading up to the collapse, but the official report on the causes of the accident is not likely to be made available for several months. Both chief archaeologist Christos Doumas and the shelter’s architect, Nikos Findikakis, had expressed concern at the delay in gathering evidence for the investigation, saying the time wasted was putting the monuments at further risk. They believe it is feasible to erect a light structure over the site without endangering the evidence to be examined by the prosecutor’s office.