In Pre-palace Crete the houses were initially made of brick and other perishable materials, with walls constructed of slabs of stone and mud. The roofs were either flat or sloping, and made of branches, grass and mud. Towards the end of the period, the interior walls began to be covered with red plaster, and the floors were paved.
Settlements dating from this period have been excavated at Vasiliki and Myrtos (Phournou Koryphi) in east-central Crete and at Ayios Kyrillos and Trypiti in south-central Crete. There were also extensive settlements at Knossos, Phaistos and Malia, where parts of houses of this period have been investigated. House of the period have also been excavated at Ayia Triada and Debla Chanion. A remarkable oval building has been uncovered at Chamaizi Siteias. Other residences of this date have been investigated at Ayia Photia, Palaikastro, Mochlos, Pseira, Zakros, Apesokari, Ayios Kyrillos, Koumasa, Tylisos, and Paterikes Phaistou.
A large number of sites has been identified, demonstrating the density of occupation throughout the whole Crete. The ‘villages’ that have been excavated betray a rudimentary level of urban design with courtyards and paved streets between the houses. The settlements were built on the sides or summits of hills (Myrtos, Trypiti, Ayios Kyrillos), or on sites that controlled the surrounding area (Vasiliki, Knossos). In south-central Crete, many settlements have been located that were founded during the second phase of the period, and some continued to exist in the following, Old Palace period. These settlements lie close to the well-known tholos-tomb cemeteries. The houses were usually separated from each other (Vasiliki, Ayios Kyrillos and Trypiti), though the settlement at Myrtos consists of two complexes of rooms which, with their narrow streets, recall modern Cycladic settlements. The houses were rectangular or square, had a single storey with stone walls (Trypiti), or walls whose lower courses were of stone with brick masonry and timber frames above them. The floors were sometimes of beaten earth and sometimes paved. The walls were covered with red plaster (Vasiliki, Myrtos). The rooms had interior hearths in the form of small built pits, and low benches and cupboards against the walls. The roofs were supported by central pillars, or build II-shaped, T-shaped or L-shaped structures (Myrtos, Trypiti, Ayios Kyrillos).
Dr Andonis Vasilakis