Vorno/Pyrgos (Samba) lies in an upland location, with good visual contacts; naturally fortified, and surrounded by fertile fields, good water resources and on principal routes in the Pediada. Earlier research equated it with the historical town of Thenai: contemporary fortifications exist.
Rescue excavation (2004) was limited to a disturbed area (the Old School). Slight structural remains of two Bronze Age phases exist. Extensive deposits of stone, mud-brick and adobe in Region I, at the NE, mark the first, with EMIB-IIA ceramics of a domestic character. The structure had wooden uprights held in the masonry by especially-prepared mudbricks. The ceramics also contain material of the Pyrgos, Vassiliki and Koumasa styles; with stone tools and a steatite seal stone.
The second phase, with little masonry, is a 3-room structure. The heavily disturbed soils hold pottery of EMIII-MMI, MMIIΙ-LMIA, alongside medieval and modern wares. The Minoan ceramics (for drinking/pouring, preparing/serving foods, storage, and “beehives”) are strongly conservative, and of the local Pediada Workshop. A few imports from north-central and south Crete exist.
Survey-work places Samba in an intensively-occupied area of apparently self-sufficient units, lacking a regional centre. Their successful autonomy may explain the lack of political cohesion: only in the early Neopalatial was such imposed through the agency of Galatas.