In Makry Gialos, at the place Katovigli, near the church of the Dormition of the Virgin, have been unearthed remains of a Roman Villa. Pendlebury (BSA XXXIII p. 100) had already noted the existence of a Roman settlement here. Excavations begun in 1977 (not yet completed), have shown that there were indeed large domestic establishments, dated from the 1st century BC to the 3rd century AD, but it is not possible at this stage of the excavations to draw definite conclusions. One room after another has been discovered and the whole excavation so far, covers an area of roughly 1500 sq.m.
The general arrangement of the rooms surrounds an open court. Doorways with thresholds of porous stone open onto the court. Also found was a burial room in which the main tomb was built up. An apsidal opening with the presence of ash in the vicinity was at first thought to be an οven; but it led to the discovery in 1980 of an impressive bath-house, and so presumably should be regarded as the furnace of the hypocaust system (which was also found). Another interesting discovery was a horseshoe-shaped open-air cistern or bathing pool (piscina) - outside dimensions 3,90m x 3,15m into which descend marble-faced steps. Possibly it was just an aquarium for aquatic birds, something like the artificial ornamental pools found today. Α large mosaic floor with geometrical designs to the west of the pool adds to its splendour. It should be noted that a great many marble slabs of different colours and thicknesses were found. These are of good quality marble skilfully worked, and were used to face the floors and walls, as can be seen from many which were found at their original position. Water pipes and open channels carried water from cisterns to the buildings and gardens.
The almost complete absence of movable finds and architectural members from such a wealth of ruins is surprising. The site must have been systematically looted, perhaps by pirates in the Byzantine era, and others more recently. The excavations continue under the direction of Ν.Ρ. Papadakis.
Source: "Sitia" by Nikos Papadakis - archaeologist