Dating the thera eruption
One of the earliest cycladic Type I ship representation is on a fragment of white marble from Naxos dated around 2500-2000 BC. Stern rises near vertically, surmounted by appendance departing obliquely aft to level out to horizontal at half its lenght. Another early large Aegean Type I ship is represented in this Cycladic terracotta "frying pan" from Syros dated around 2500-2000 BC.Two oblique projections from hull, understood as tholes. This multi-oared galley has a long vertical prow with a fish symbol mounted on top, perhaps acting as a wind vane to detect wind direction relative to the vessel.In this scene there are perhaps two ships and no people. Related to Syros craft are the earliest Minoan ships, know exclusively from sealstone.The polychrome design shows a short vessel, thickly outlined, the reserved interior filled with zigzag pattern; there is a stout curved ram on the prow, and a steering oar. Another unclastered type of early Aegean ship is represented in this clay model of unknown provenance probably dated MM I (about 2000 BC). The aealiest members, dating to Early Minoan III, reproduce the general lines established by Type I with some differences in details: the stern rises to a height equal to a lesser percentage of the lenght overall, and a pronunced stempost appears occasionally to receive the forestays.
Evidence for ship construction in Aegean Bronze Age comprises 358 catalogue entries, these being 44 models, 173 linear representations (wall paintings, vase paintings, incisions) and 141 glyptic images.
It is a flat-bottomed craft on four feet, placed one at bow and stern, two amidship. The presence of a mast, and the use of oars rather than paddles, however, indicate that a significant increase in the beam has taken place.
Later members (the type disappears at the end of Middle Minoan II) show a more gradual transistion between keel and sternpost as well as greater variability in bow morphology: the angle between the spur and the post appears to equal either ninety, forty-five, or thirty-three degrees.
The Aegean were not the only trading ships at sea, of course, (*1) but they were among the most active and adventurous.
A ship which show similarity with the Type I Cycladic design and with later types of hull design is one of the simbols of the still undeciphered disk from Phaistos dated 2000-1700 BC.