The Minoan Periods (2600-1100 BC)

  Evidence of human habitation dating back to the Early Minoan Period (2600-2000 BC) has been uncovered from numerous caves and sites throughout Rethymnon Prefecture.  Key sites of note providing valuable information about life during this era include: the S(f)endoni Cave, the settlement of Pyrgi on the site of ancient Eleftherna and the settlements of Hamalevri and Apodoulo. - Patsos CaveFindings from the complex of buildings at Monasteraki (in the Amari valley, 38 km South of Rethymnon), the settlements of Pera Galinous and Stavromenous and the Patsos Cave date back to the Middle-Minoan Period (2000-1600 BC).  The settlement at Monasteraki is believed to have been a palace created in approximately 2000 BC and destroyed in 1700 BC, either by earthquake or fire; thus suffering the same fate as the First Palaces of Knossos, Festos, Malia and Zakros.

There are a number of sites in the region indicating human presence during the Late-Minoan Period (1600-1100 BC).  These include: the settlement of Zominthos (Anogia), the place of worship at Fantaxospiliara (Prinos) and the cemetery at Armeni (10 km South of Rethymnon).  Excavation work carried out in the Mastabas district of Rethymnon indicates that the town itself has also been inhabited since Late Minoan times.  Archaeologists have uncovered a hewn grave typical of the period along with tomb furnishings.

Some of the findings from these sites are on display in the Archaeological Museum in Rethymnon.