In this paper, the settlement(s) located on the Anavlochos massif and its community(ies) are considered in the geographical frame of the Mirabello region and in the historical context of the formation process of the polis (13th - 7th c. BC).
The Anavlochos mountain range consists of a 5-km-long North-West/South-East crest of limestone extending above the village of Vrachasi. Earlier excavations by Pierre Demargne and more recent investigations have revealed that the site was settled between the Late Minoan IIIC period and the beginning of the 7th c. BC. This naturally defensible ridge controls the major communication axis linking Central and Eastern Crete. To the North, it overlooks the coastal plain of Milatos, where a Greek city-state was established from the 7th c. BC onwards, and the Late Bronze Age (1350-1250 BC) settlement of Sissi, whereas the urban centre of the Archaic polis of Dreros is located less than 10 km to the South-East. Since 2015, an archaeological, topographical and geomorphological survey of the Anavlochos massif has been carried out by the French School at Athens. The first results allow some preliminary observations on the settlement pattern on the massif, where a Protogeometric nucleation is clearly observable. The size and organisation of the Geometric settlement which developed in the central canyon also deserves to be considered: the urban planning, the seemingly lack of a central public space, and the existence of a potential sanctuary overlooking the Late Bronze Age-Early Iron Age cemetery which was visited until the Classical period, after the settlement was abandoned, all account for critical social and political changes in the early stages of the Greek city-state. Residential, funerary and religious evidence indicates that in the Late Geometric period a community was in formation, forging its identity and probably marking its territory.