The first organised settlement to be established in the area of
dates to the Middle Minoan period (19th century BC). The site is mentioned as a-mi-mi-so in the Linear B tablets.
Habitation continues until the end of the Mycenaean period (12th century BC). In the Archaic period (7th century BC) a sanctuary
dedicated to Zeus Thenatas is founded and remaines in use until the 2nd century AD. After a long period of abandonment, the
site was again inhabited during the Venetian era. This medieval settlement, called Mesovouni, was located on the hill of Palaiochora
and was destroyed in the first years of the Turkish occupation.
The site was excavated by Spyridon Marinatos in 1929-1938 and then by Stylianos Alexiou. In 1983-85 the architectural
remains were cleared and drawn by the Archaeological Institute of the University of Heidelberg. Consolidation and conservation works
are carried out at intervals by the 23rd Ephorate of Prehistoric and Classical Antiquities.
The most important monuments of the site are:
The "Villa of the Lilies"
A typical Minoan villa of the Neopalatial period with paved corridors, "polythyra" (pier-and-door partitions), shrine, kitchen and rooms decorated
depicting blossomed lilies.
"Building C" or "Megaron"
. Minoan building divided into two separate rooms by a partition wall. It was used
until the 14th century BC.
. Residential quarter of the Late Minoan period to the west of the hill of Palaiochora. A section has
been submerged in the sea and the preserved complex is divided into two large wings; the east includes storerooms and the west is occupied by
a shrine and a deposition pit.
. This is the part of the settlement that dates to the Mycenaean period. It consists of irregular
architectural complexes, with rooms employed for the storage of amphoras, a small temple (?) and an open courtyard.
Sanctuary of Zeus Thenatas
. It is situated on the hill of Palaiochora and has a peribolos surrounding a circular altar
of ashes. A wall built of ashlar blocks, dated to the MM II period, is visible today next to the sanctuary of Zeus.