The settlement of Vasiliki
is one of the first Minoan settlements with town-planning. It occupies the top and slopes of a low hill near the contemporary village of
, in the vicinity of the
Minoan settlement of Gournia
The first settlement dates back to the Early Minoan II period (2600-2300 B.C.) and owed its development not only to the strategic position,
controlling the Isthmus of Hierapetra, but also to the neighbouring fertile plains. The central building of the settlement was destroyed by fire
in around 2300 B.C. The hill was again occupied in the Middle Minoan period as attested by a building of the period (2200-1900 B.C.),
while scant traces of habitation date to the Roman period.
The first excavation of the site was conducted by the American archaeologists H. Boyd and R.B. Seager, in the beginning of the 1900s.
From 1970 till the '90s, professor A. Zois conducted a series of systematic excavations under the auspices of the Athens Archaeological Society.
The most important monuments of the site are:
The Early Minoan "House on the Hilltop"
A large building, which can be considered a forerunner (on a small scale) of the later Minoan palaces. Its orientation, with the corners pointing to the cordial points may possibly be
an impact of the Near East. The rooms are rectangular, connected with long corridors. The south wing is the largest. Some of the oblong rooms can be considered magazines,
others are personal quarters; the building includes a paved courtyard with a rock-cut well or light-well. The interior surface of the walls was covered with
, while the walls were reinforced with timber frame. The walls of the ground floor
are built of small stones, bounded with clay and straw, while those of the upper storey were made of mud bricks.
The Middle Minoan "House A"
(2200-1900 BC). It is a typical example of the Middle Minoan "agglutinative" architecture, with rooms added when
needed; the plan of the houses, however, had a certain regularity. It is located at the junction of two streets and has a narrow doorway entered from the stepped street. It seems
that the settlement had four main building phases, each represented by remains of houses. Especially in the Middle Minoan period, the houses must have been extended to the
whole of the east side of the hill.