Eastern Crete is a place where recent archaeology has strengthened the sense of continuity from the late Roman to the medieval period. This has been especially evident from excavation data at several sites mainly along the northern shore.
An archaeological excavation carried out in Mochlos, Siteia by a team from the School of History and Archaeology of the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki has uncovered an extensive water-management building complex consisting of two cross-vaulted bath-houses and a large vaulted cistern. The finds so far, together with the investigation of the buildings and their construction technique, point to a date in the transitional Byzantine period. The buildings’ cross-vaulted typology links them, on the other hand, to three other examples of medieval bath-houses that were later converted into churches. It seems that the cross-vaulted shape was applied to the bath-houses due to functional issues, but this feature rendered them easy to adapt to another use where the same shape acquires an added symbolism. Examining these buildings together helps clarify certain issues regarding their history as a group. It seems that they were all constructed in the early Middle Byzantine period (after the 7th c.). The conversion of the three into churches most probably dates from the 13th c. on. This is further corroborated by the details of their masonry, which includes brickwork characteristic of the Late Byzantine period.
The idea that secular and sacred architecture share more characteristics than is usually supposed comes as a natural conclusion of our enquiry.