According to a report in National Geographic Daily News on Aug. 22, 2013, the season of the eruption of the Santorini volcano has been dated by Eva Panagiotakopulu, a paleoecologist and fossil-insect expert at the University of Edinburgh in Scotland, to the month of June or July.
A jar of sweet peas discovered 50 years ago in the bottom floor of a three story building in Akrotiri, a Minoan Bronze Age settlement on the volcanic Greek island of Santorini that was preserved by the eruption of the Santorini volcano about 3600 years ago, was found to contain the fossilized remains of bean weevils.
The bottom floor of the building is the presumed storage area for foodstuffs. This was a common practice at the time and can be verified by other historic sites and written documents from the same time frame.
Dating of the chitin in the insect's shells corresponded to the time frame of the Santorini eruption. This particular species of weevil are known to only infest peas while the peas are in the field.
Microscopic inspection of the number of adult weevils, immature weevils, and pupae in the jar of sweet peas allowed the researchers to compare the populations of weevils in modern pea storage facilities and to date the time of the eruption to between June and July.
Previously, microscopy had not been exact enough to be used in this fashion.