But if this evidence is so clear why has it not been discovered
Tsunami expert Costas Synolakis, from the University of Southern
California, says that the study of ancient tidal waves is in its
infancy and people have not, until now, really known what to look
Many scientists are still of the view that these waves only
blasted material away and did not leave much behind in the way of
But observation of the Asian tsunami of 2004 changed all that.
"If you remember the video footage," says Costas, "some of it
showed tonnes of debris being carried along by the wave and much of
it was deposited inland."
Costas Synolakis has come to the conclusion that the wave would
have been as powerful as the one that devastated the coastlines of
Thailand and Sri Lanka on Boxing Day in 2004, leading to the loss of
over 250,000 lives.
After decades studying the Minoans, MacGillivray is struck by
the scale of the destruction.
"The Minoans are so confident in their navy that they're living
in unprotected cities all along the coastline. Now, you go to Bande
Aceh [in Indonesia] and you find that the mortality rate is 80%. If
we're looking at a similar mortality rate, that's the end of the
But what caused the tidal wave? The scientists have obtained
radiocarbon dates for the deposits that show the tidal wave could have
hit the coast at exactly the same time as an eruption of the Santorini volcano, 70 km north of Crete, in the middle of the second