The Late Minoan settlement Vrondas is located in an elevated position, 2km south of Kavoussi in province Ierapetra. It was inhabited during the setting of the Minoan Civilization by the scared Minoans who moved to the peaks of the Cretan mountains, possibly so as to protect themselves from the Dorians who occupied the island. Vrondas was first explored in 1900 by the archaeologist Harriet Boyd (Hawes), who identied a large building with a forecourt and storerooms on top of the ridge, a massive wall along the east, eight beehive-shaped domed tombs (tholoi) to the north and northwest dating to the Subminoan Period (1025-1000 BC).
Excavations were continued in 1987 and through 1992 under the auspices of the American School of Classical Studies in Athens. They revealed a small settlement of the Late Minoan Period (1200-1025BC) on the summit with a large mansion on top, a shrine on the southwest and at least five house complexes. A late Minoan potter’s kiln west of the shrine has been reburied for protection. Also uncovered were 36 graves (745-680BC), containing cremation burials.
The site was also used in the Bronze Age (2650-1750BC). After the settlement was abandoned and long after its use as a cemetery (1025-710 BC), the site was reused after the Venetian Times for sporadic settlement, as evidenced by many abandoned buildings around. Within walking distance, there is the old monastery of Agia Paraskevi with an ancient olive tree and an arcosolium (Venetian burial monument). Also, next to it, there is the easternmost cluster of cypress trees in Crete, while in walking distance there is the minoan settle Azorias and the monumental olive tree of Azorias, the oldest surviving olive tree in the world.