Strong evidence was found during the 1990s of human sacrifice carried out here during the 8th century BC, and in front of the funeral pyres of persons of importance, correlating with Homeric accounts of the sacrifices of Trojan prisoners in front of the funeral pyre of Achilles during the same period. The evidence included a knife and whetstone found near the neck of the headless victim. Other finds on this site included gold, crystal, bronze, glass, faience, pottery , and some beautifully carved ivory heads. An Archaic statue of a female torso was also found which is housed in the Heraklion Archaeological Museum, as well as fragments of a limestone kouros (6th century). On the east side of the acropolis hill are Byzantine finds from the 10th century, a domed church with frescoes from the 12th century, the remains of a Roman villa, and an Early Christian basilica.
In the new town, Nea Eleftherna an open air sanctuary was found with terracotta figurines of animals and humans. Nearby Margarites has a long ceramic tradition, with pottery workshops and shops selling their work all over the village.
Perama, to the north , takes its name from the fact of its being a crossing-place over the Mylopotamos River ('perama' being a ford, 'mylo' a mill, and 'potamos' a river). There is evidence of there having been a Minoan sanctuary here (bronze figurines), and it was later a Roman, Venetian, and Turkish settlement. In modern times it is mainly an agricultural town with some light industry. There's a large cave, near Melidhoni 5km/3.1miles from Perama, the walk taking about half an hour. In 1824, during the independence struggle , three hundred villages suffocated after a Turkish commander set a fire at the entrance to the cave, after having failed to suffocate them by blocking the entry with stones (the villagers having opened holes in the barricade). A shrine at the entrance commemorates this horror, and inside, one finds stalactites and stalagmites instead of bones.