The first habitation on the site dates from the prehistoric period and, more specifically, from the Late Bronze Age. The city flourished in the Archaic and Classical periods (6th and 5th centuries B.C.), as is attested by the large number of built tombs and pit-graves as well as by the important public buildings erected at the time. The settlement and the cemetery were abandoned in the 1st century B.C., after a disastrous earthquake.
Systematic excavations on the site started in 1983 and brought to light significant architectural remains, clusters of graves and organized cemeteries, dating from prehistoric until late Hellenistic times. The city lying on the hill of Megale Rache is securely identified as Aiane, the capital of the kingdom of Elimeia, which is recorded in ancient literary sources.