The excavations in Eleftherna began 16 years ago, in 1985, when the Department of Archaeology and History of Art at the University of Crete decided to research and bring to light the ancient city. The first excavations on the site were carried out in by 1929 the British School under the direction of H. Payne. Most of the remains were located near the villages of Eleftherna and Ancient Eleftherna at the foot of Psiloritis, 24 and 29 km respectively from the town of Rethymno.

More specifically, the most important findings are in three different places on a hill between two waterfalls: in Orthi Petra west of the hill, in Pirgi at the centre of the hill and in Katsivelos east of the hill. Significant findings have been brought to light in Nisi, near the village Eleftherna including mostly remains of the city of the Hellenistic period.

In Orthi Petra, the Professor of Archaeology Ν. Stambolidis has brought to light a necropolis of the geometric and archaic period, Hellenistic and Roman buildings and streets built even before.

In Pirgi, on the top of the hill, the Professor of Archaeology Ath. Kalpaxis has revealed parts of buildings of Roman and Paleochristian period, whereas on the east of the hill, where is today the village of Ancient Eleftherna, the Professor of Archaeology P. Themelis has excavated parts of the ancient city from Prehistoric to Paleochristian period.

Prof. P. Themelis has also found Hellenistic retaining walls, Roman buildings, hot springs and a three-nave paleochristian basilica decorated with beautiful mosaic with geometric and natural patterns.


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