Itanos flourished in the historic Greek and Roman period. It was established in the Prehellenic period. Itanos became powerful and wealthy from conducting trade with Syria, Palestine and Libya. The city had its own coins and buildings covered with marble.
The temple of Dictaian Zeus at Palekastro belonged administratively to the city of Itanos and that was the reason of the constant wars between Itanos and two other cities, Pressos and Ierapytna, that wanted to take the temple under their rule. The city was inhabited until the 15th century AD when the pirates forced the inhabitants to move to the hinterland of Crete.
For the past 7 years, a coalition of European researchers has been studying the archaeological site of Itanos from various archaeological, environmental and geophysical aspects. The project, supervised by the Institute of Mediterranean Studies, the French School of Archaeology and the Technical University of Crete, has integrated a number of surveying techniques for accessing the archaeological and environmental parameters of the wider archaeological region.