The Neolithic Period (6000-2600 BC)

  The earliest evidence of human habitation comes from excavations that have been carried out in some of the numerous caves in the region.  Findings of particular note that indicate human presence during the Neolithic Period have emerged from work carried out at the caves of Gerani, Melidoni and S(f)endoni.

The Gerani Cave (7 km West of Rethymnon) was discovered by accident in 1969 by workmen building the new National Highway.  Archaeological research led by Ioannis Tzedakis revealed that the site was inhabited during late Neolithic times.  Both human and animal remains were found - indicating that the site was used for worship and for burial.  Neolithic artefacts uncovered from the site include stone figurines, tools made from stone and bone, stone pottery, jewellery and spear shafts. - Sfendoni Cave in ZonianaExcavations at the Melidoni Cave (5 km North East of Perama) and the S(f)endoni Cave (7 km West of Anogia) have uncovered evidence of human habitation that dates back to the early Neolithic times.

Some of the findings from caves in the region may be seen on display in the Archaeological Museum of Rethymnon.