The first habitation on the site dates from the prehistoric period
and, more specifically, from the Late Bronze Age. The
city flourished in the Archaic and Classical periods (6th and 5th centuries
B.C.), as is attested by the large number of built tombs and pit-graves as well
as by the important public buildings erected at the time. The settlement and the
cemetery were abandoned in the 1st century B.C., after a disastrous earthquake.
Systematic excavations on the site started in 1983 and brought to
light significant architectural remains, clusters of graves and organized cemeteries,
dating from prehistoric until late Hellenistic times. The city lying on the hill
of Megale Rache is securely identified as Aiane, the capital of the kingdom of
Elimeia, which is recorded in ancient literary sources.
Some of the monuments have been protected under sheds: the Cistern,
the "House with the Staircase", part of the Agora and the largest section of the
necropolis with the built cist-graves.
The finds are exhibited in the Archaeological
Museum of Aiane.
The most important monuments on the site are the following: The Classical
Agora, with a stoa and shops. Hellenistic
houses. Some of the most important are the "House with the Staircase",
the "House with the Pithoi" and the "House with the Loomweights". Classical
stoa with pillars. Large,
circular cistern, quarried out in the rock. Large
cist-graves dated to the late Archaic and Classical periods. Farmhouses A, B and C. Roman tholos tomb on the site called "Rache Tseika". Byzantine and post-Byzantine churches, spanning the period from
the 11th to the 19th century A.D.